Eminem’s biological father and namesake, Marshall Bruce Mathers Jr., has died at 67. TMZ reports his family and neighbors in Fort Wayne, Indiana said he suffered a heart attack at his home.
Eminem’s mother, Debbie Nelson, wrote in her 2008 memoir My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem that she married Bruce when she was just 15 and he was 22, and they welcomed their son two years later.
Debbie, 64, told Rolling Stone Opens a New Window. in 1999 that Eminem wrote and mailed a few letters to Bruce as a teenager, but they came back marked “return to sender.” In the same interview, the 15-time Grammy winner told the magazine that he heard his dad had been “trying to get in touch” with him once he became famous.
The Grammy-winning rapper frequently mentioned their lack of a relationship in his song lyrics, singing in “My Name Is” that he slit his father’s throat in a dream, and addressing his father leaving the family in “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.”
“I wonder if he even kissed me goodbye/No I don’t/On second thought I just f— wished he would die,” he raps on the track, before declaring his devotion to his own daughter, Hailie.