drake Sidhu Moose Wala

Drake mourns the death of world-famous Brampton rapper Sidhu Moose Wala

Hip hop fans all over the world, Drake included, are devastated this week following the shooting death of 28-year-old Sidhu Moose Wala, a Punjabi-language signer who started what became a flourishing music career right here in the Greater Toronto Area.

Wala, who was born Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu in 1993, moved to Brampton, Ontario, from India in 2016 on a student visa after graduating from university with a degree in electrical engineering. He studied at both Sheridan and Humber Colleges.

It was during his time in Ontario that he started recording music and performing, eventually rising to become one of Canada's most-promising musical talents, charting repeatedly on Billboard's Canadian, UK, Asian, New Zealand and global Hot 100 lists.

His debut EP, released just a few months ago in April of 2022, came out at spot number 73 on Billboard's Top Canadian Albums chart, preluding an international tour with at least one stop at Mississauga's 7,000-seat Paramount Fine Foods Centre.

Sadly, the tour will never be; Indian news outlets report that Moose was gunned down by unidentified people while travelling by car in Punjab's Mansa district on Sunday evening at the age of 28.

According to the Hindustan Times, the singer and aspiring politician was found in his jeep with 25 bullet wounds. Two others in his party were injured but survived. Video footage circulating online shows a bloodied and unconcious Moose being pulled from the vehicle.

He reportedly died in hospital Sunday evening, just one day after government officials had (controversially) pulled security teams away from him and more than 400 other at-risk individuals.

Police in India have arrested at least one suspect, telling reporters that they believe the attack was a result of inter-gang rivalry.

"State police chief VK Bhawra had said on Sunday that a Canada-based gangster had claimed responsibility for the attack," reported BBC News Delhi. "On Monday, Mr Bhawra clarified in a statement that he hadn't said that Moose Wala was a 'gangster or affiliated with gangsters'."

While not himself openly affiliated with any gangs, Moose's songs are rife with lyrics about guns, death and violence. The cover art for his most-recent single, "The Last Ride," depicts the crime scene of Tupac Shakur's 1996 assissination in Las Vegas.

The young artist's murder has sparked outpourings of grief, anger and praise from all over the world.

"I am Shocked and Deeply saddened by the gruesome murder of Siddhu Moosewala. Nobody involved will be spared," tweeted Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, one of many famous Indian figures who've responded to the news.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his fans across the world. I appeal everyone to stay calm."

Here in North America, music industry icons are equally distraught to learn of the rising young talent's untimely death.

"RIP Moose," wrote Drake in an Instagram story on Sunday over a photo of Moose and his mother.

Toronto-born singer and producer Nav shared a heartbreaking screenshot from a WhatsApp chat with the Punjabi artist, suggesting that the two were gearing up for a collaboration.

Nigerian superstar Burna Boy similarly shared an audio clip on Instagram featuring Moose, revealing that they'd been working on a mixtape.

Drake, Burna Boy and Nav were just a few of Moose Wala's 8.5 million fans on Instagram to express their condolences — the comments on all of his recent posts are a wall of "you will be missed" and "RIP legend"s.

"Gutted by the Sidhu Moose Wala news. Really unfortunate," wrote one Twitter user. "He still had so much to give to the industry. He also helped put #Brampton on the map when it came to Punjabi music. R.I.P."

"Sidhu Moose Wala was shot dead?" wrote another, noting that all of their Indian co-workers had the artist's logo printed on their cars."It's bout to be a day of mourning in Brampton."

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