Heavy D 'Brought So Much Light,' Mary J. Blige Says

'Every song Heavy D ever put out was something to uplift us,' former labelmate tells MTV News about her fallen friend.

Mary J. Bilge famously sang "Not Gon' Cry" on her 1996 single, but when the topic of her fallen friend and former Uptown Records labelmate Heavy D came up, the emotion was just too much to hold back.

"Heavy D was so beloved because the impact he made on music was that we could have fun: We can do hip-hop without murdering and killing everybody," a tearful MJB told MTV News on Tuesday in Beverly Hills. "And he just brought so much light."

Mary, like Heavy, hailed from the outskirts of New York City — him from Mount Vernon, her from Yonkers. It was 1987 when Heavy D & the Boyz released their first album, Living Large, on Uptown Records. Mary was signed years later, and in 1992, dropped her debut album, What's the 411? — but her earliest memories of Heavy pre-date her days in the music industry.

"I just remember being a child and him coming to King school, where they used to have all the performers come, and they came and did 'The Overweight Lover,' " Mary recalled with tears in her eyes. "We always needed something to uplift us, and he brought us so much joy because we were always in a place where we didn't have enough, we couldn't get enough money, but the King school show was free, and every song Heavy D ever put out was something to uplift us."

The exact cause of Heavy D's death November 8 is still unclear, as initial autopsy results came up inconclusive. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills after a 911 call was placed from his home. Heavy had difficulty breathing and was pronounced dead after he reached the hospital.

There will be a public viewing for the fallen rapper Thursday (November 17) at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York, and a private funeral service for family and close friends Friday. BET is planning a special tribute to Heavy D during the Soul Train Awards on November 27. Rappers Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow, Naughty by Nature, Whodini and Stetsasonic's Daddy-O are all expected to take part.

Share your fondest memory of Heavy D in the comments.