Thousand gather at Staples Center for Nipsey Hussle funeral service

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
David McNew/Getty Images

A photo of rapper Nipsey Hussle is seen among candles as people gather to mourn him on April 1, 2019, in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES - Not only will Los Angeles' Staples Center be packed for Nipsey Hussle's memorial Thursday, but throngs are also expected to line the streets to bid him farewell.

Called "A Celebration of Life" by organizers, the massive gathering for the slain musician and community advocate is set for 10 a.m. local time. Tickets were made available free of charge to California residents earlier this week, and they were gone in 30 minutes.

The Staples Center accommodates about 21,000 people. The venue was last used for a memorial service for Michael Jackson in July 2009.

Cable network BET announced it will broadcast the event and stream it.

Streaming music service Tidal is also making the memorial available to both members and nonmembers.

Organizers have announced a procession following the service that will run 20 to 25 miles through the streets of Los Angeles and encompass places that were important to the rapper.

Nipsey, who was born Ermias Asghedom, was gunned down March 31 in Los Angeles near the clothing store he owned at Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.

Eric Holder, the suspect in the shooting, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The 29-year-old was also charged at his arraignment with possession of a firearm by a felon.

Nipsey was beloved not only for his Grammy-nominated music but also for his activism and entrepreneurship dedicated to uplifting his community.

Nipsey Hussle slaying: From street gangs to police and lawmakers, tributes pour in

Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson announced Tuesday that the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and West Slauson Avenue will be named Ermias "Nipsey Hussle" Asghedom Square in honor of the artist.

The rapper's family has been left to mourn him, including his girlfriend of more than five years, Lauren London, with whom he shared a son.

Nipsey Hussle and Lauren London's hip-hop fairytale

Hussle also had a daughter from a prior relationship.

"I'm going to keep my head high and always represent for my king to the fullest," London told the Los Angeles Times. "He loved his kids. He was a family man. His family came first."

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