Kanye West's Mother Passes Away, Chicago Rapper Rhymefest Reacts
The cause of death has not been confirmed, though rumors have been spreading that her death was a result of complications from cosmetic surgery.
Chicago rapper Rhymefest, who co-wrote the hit "Jesus Walks," confirmed Dr. West's death to radio station WCGI. [Listen here]
"Kanye called me up this morning, at about 10 o'clock in the morning my time, he was in London," Rhymefest told the radio station. "He let me know that his mom, Dr. West, passed."
Rhymefest said Kanye West is still struggling to absorb the news about his mother.
"I don't think it really hit him yet, but I'm asking Chicago to pray and send your prayers and your love out to my brother and to his family," Rhymefest said.
Kanye West frequently spoke of his mother in his music, and dedicated an entire track to her in "Hey Mama" off his second release, Late Registration.
Dr. West, who authored the tell-all book Raising Kanye, was chair of the English department at Chicago State University before leaving her position to serve as Kanye's manager.
Rhymefest said in addition to managing her son's career, she acted as a mother and mentor for the entire circle.
"She was a mother to everybody ... We all came in the crib and she fed us when we had nothin', when there was no record deals. She brought us in," he said. "She was a mother for a community, and a mother for one of Chicago's greatest heroes.