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Family of dead rapper who was propped up on stage in 'Irish wake' defend memorial

'My brother was a king and that’s how exactly how he wanted to go out'

The body of the slain rapper, real name is Markelle Morrow, was reportedly propped up on stage

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The family of a dead rapper whose corpse was propped up in a Washington DC nightclub in what was described as “an Irish wake” has defended the memorial after people expressed horror at the spectacle.

Goonew (24) whose real name was Markelle Morrow, was shot in a car park in Prince George’s County, Maryland on March 18 and died hours later in hospital.

His life was celebrated on Sunday with a memorial party at Bliss Nightclub where fans who had paid a 40 dollar entrance fee were seen on social media dancing alongside his embalmed corpse.

Footage of the bizarre event was shared widely on social media and soon received a backlash.

One person reacted: “No way Goonew mama approved that s–t, that’s so sad & disrespectful,” wrote one fan on Twitter. Another added: “If y’all saw that video with Goonew’s body y’all can’t tell me this society ain’t already collapsed … “

“This is madness,” another added. “WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?”

Hip-hop icon 50 Cent weighed in on Twitter, writing: “Oh s–t ! I just realised what this is.”

However, his family has reportedly received tons of love and support from those who knew the former rapper. Following the service, he was taken by horse-drawn carriage through his neighbourhood, before being buried at the local cemetery.

The rapper whose real name was Markelle Morrow

The artist's mother and sister, Patrice and Ariana Morrow, told TMZ that when they first met with the funeral home, Patrice made it clear she didn't want anyone looking down on her son.

They wanted him to be propped up on display after seeing other services do something similar.

The crown on his head was the funeral home's idea ... because he was known as the "King of Maryland."

His family says he was the life of the party and loved to have fun, so they knew he wouldn't have wanted a sombre funeral.

Prior to Goonew's death, Ariana insisted her brother made it clear he did not want to be buried in a suit.

The family added that as he didn't go to church, a casket and being dressed in a suit would have come off as phony.

They decided to dress him in his regular clothes, making him appear as he would've if he were still alive.

“We celebrated the life of my brother how we wanted.

“My brother was a legend. My brother was a king and that’s how exactly how he wanted to go out.

“To clear up the rumours in that place…the critics. It’s rude. It’s very disrespectful. It’s very insensitive. If you don’t like it, don’t speak on it. Let us grieve how we want to grieve.”

Goonew’s mother also defended her decision to display the rapper’s body on stage.

Speaking to, Morrow said: “For all the negatives, people probably don’t even know nothing about us.

“They have no idea. People just saying what they want to say and that’s fine. That’s perfectly fine. I’m pleased with how I sent my son away. I wish people would just let me grieve in peace.”

Bliss Nightclub where the event took place, later issued a statement revealing that it was “never made aware” that Goonew’s body would be on display.

“Bliss was contacted by a local funeral home to rent out our venue for Goonew’s home-going celebration," the club said.

“We sincerely apologise to all those who may be upset or offended. Please keep Goonew’s family and friends in your prayers at this difficult time. Respectfully, Bliss DC."

Goonew’s family believes that he was the victim of an armed robbery, and Prince George’s County Police is offering $25,000 for information leading to the perpetrator’s arrest.

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