Jamie Prefontaine, a.k.a. Brooklyn of Winnipeg's Most, dies
Prefontaine, better known by the stage name Brooklyn, died Tuesday at age 30.
"It's impacting me a lot. I can't speak for his family, but I know that they're hurting a lot too, his wife and his kids. Jamie was my best friend," said Illiano McKinney, a fellow performer who said the hip-hop community is devastated.
"The music scene is, definitely. And the native community is going to be different. He changed native music and he opened the door for a lot of others like myself. I know a lot of things are going to change.
"He is a true legend in Winnipeg hip hop."
Prefontaine's family did not want the cause of death released at this time.
Winnipeg's Most, composed of Prefontaine, Jon-C (Billy Pierson) and Charlie Fettah (Tyler Rogers), was a force in local hip-hop music. They debuted in the summer of 2010, won a handful of Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards (APCMA) , including for best new artist, and were featured in Maclean's magazine.
They followed that up with six more APCMAs in 2011.
But they also faced criticism for glorifying violence, drugs and gang lifestyles in the First Nations community. And Prefontaine lived a similar life, spending time in and out of jail.
In a news release, police said Prefontaine was aware they were looking for him "and he is actively avoiding them."
On Sept. 10, Prefontaine posted a message on his Facebook page, saying he was going to Montreal:
"I will be going away for a little while just want all my friend's family and supporters know that I love you guy's for always being my corner right or wrong but I have to do the right thing so that my life can move forward out here so if you don't here from me for a little while thank you to everyone whose had my back and I WILL BE BACK"
While he might have had some trouble in his life, Prefontaine was a good man, according to McKinney.
"A lot of people talked bad about him and said a lot of stuff that wasn't true, and when you got to know who the real Brooklyn was, he was a true friend and a true brother — someone who would take the shirt off his back and give it to you if you need it," he said.
"He took in a lot of people, showed a lot of people different stuff and talked about what loyalty and friendship was."
In 2012, Prefontaine, Pierson and Rogers purchased headstones to honour two women who had been killed.
At the time, Prefontaine said the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women hits close to home.
"I had an auntie who was murdered in the '90s, so I kind of know the feeling," he told CBC News.