A funeral was held on Friday in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., for the departed rapper Heavy D, who died last week at the age of 44, and the service included the reading of a note from President Obama expressing condolences to Heavy D's daughter, Xea Myers. The Associated Press reports:

"We extend our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. He will be remembered for his infectious optimism and many contributions to American music. Please know that you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers," read the Obama note, according to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who quoted from it during the service.

Heavy D & The Boyz came to prominence when Obama was in his late twenties, hitting No. 12 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1988 with "Don't You Know" and following with a handful of hits through the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Read the full story from the Associated Press.