Rapper Nicki Minaj’s father has died in a hit-and-run accident.
Robert Maraj, 64, was walking in Mineola, Long Island, on Friday night when he was “was struck by a northbound, undescribed, vehicle that left the scene of the accident,” local police said in a statement.
After the driver left the scene, the 64-year-old was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead the next day.
Police said they have launched investigations.
The statement didn’t say Robert Maraj was Nicki Minaj’s dad, but a police spokesman confirmed to AFP that he was her father.
Minaj has not yet made any public statement about her father’s death.
The 38-year-old rapper, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.
Minaj’s parents moved to the United States before she joined them there a couple years later at the age of 5. She was raised in the New York City borough of Queens.
In a 2012 interview with ABC News, Minaj spoke about her difficult upbringing in a rough neighborhood and her complicated relationship with her father, who she said was addicted to crack cocaine.
“It was so devastating because it’s like losing, it’s like someone dying,” Minaj said of her father’s addiction.
Minaj said she witnessed “a lot” of violence as a child and that her father was “abusive” toward her mother.
“It would be like a real bad outburst and we were afraid for her life because whenever he would have a real bad outburst, he would threaten to kill her,” she said.
She’s been nominated for 10 Grammys, won five MTV Video Music Awards and broken the record for the most Billboard Hot 100 entries by a solo female artist.
She announced she was ‘retiring’ in 2019 but has released new music since then.
When asked how she felt toward her father as a child, Minaj said she was “angry” and that she “wanted to kill him.” She said she created alter egos in order to cope, which she has put on display in her hip-hop music.
The 38-year-old recently paid Sh50 million ($450,000) to the singer Tracy Chapman to settle a copyright dispute after sampling one of her songs.