Rapper Nipsey Hussle
Rapper Nipsey Hussle Image Credit: AP

Washington: Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot dead in the US city of Los Angeles on Sunday, US media reported.

A Los Angeles police department spokesman could not confirm the deceased victim's name, but told AFP that a shooting on Sunday afternoon had killed one person and wounded two others.

According to local media reports, Hussle was shot in front of his own clothing store Sunday afternoon at close range, by a man who fled in a getaway car.

"Our hearts are with the loved ones of Nipsey Hussle and everyone touched by this awful tragedy," LA Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted.

The shooter is still at large, the spokesman said.

"L.A. is hurt deeply each time a young life is lost to senseless gun violence," Garcetti said.

The Los Angeles Times reported the shooting was "likely planned and gang-related."

Nipsey Hussle crime scene
A crowd gathers outside The Marathon clothing store owned by Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle where he was fatally shot along with 2 other wounded, in Los Angeles on March 31, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Just hours earlier, Hussle - a 33-year-old whose youth was intertwined with Los Angeles gang culture - tweeted: "Having strong enemies is a blessing".

The rapper was mourned by big names in the music industry.

"Gone 2 soon," rapper Snoop Dogg posted on Instagram. "I'm so sad right now I'll just reflect on the good times we had."

Singer Rihanna also mourned Hussle's passing, writing on Instagram: "This doesn't make any sense! My spirit is shaken by this!"

"I'm so sorry this happened to you," she said.

Long part of the underground rap circuit, Hussle struggled to find fame but began selling his own mixtapes, which hip-hop royalty Jay-Z once bought 100 of for $100 (Dh367) each.

He was nominated for Best Rap Album for ‘Victory Lap’, his first formal album that finally dropped in February 2018 after six years of teasing, but lost out to rap's woman of the moment Cardi B.

Megastar Drake also posted his condolences, saying: "My whole energy is just at a low right now hearing this."

"You were a real one to your people and the rest of us," Drake wrote. "Rest easy my g."

Born Ermias Asghedom, Hussle was seen by many in Los Angeles as a lynchpin of the community, redistributing his earnings into the violence-plagued neighborhoods he came from.

The artist was involved in a project to reclaim the California city's southern districts for the black residents who made it sing.

"Hussle had a vision of a neighborhood built for and by the sons and daughters of South L.A." said city councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson in a statement following news of the rapper's death.

"During his life, he moved from shadows into the bright hope of freedom and community revitalization."

Hussle was open about his early years in the notorious Crips gang, telling the Los Angeles Times newspaper in 2018: "We dealt with death, with murder."

"It was like living in a war zone, where people die on these blocks and everybody is a little bit immune to it," he said.

"I guess they call it post-traumatic stress, when you have people that have been at war for such a long time."