A somber send off for Nate Dogg ended at 4 p.m. today in Long Beach. His wake, held at the New Hope Baptist Church, was attended by friends, family and fans from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
The church was where Nate Dogg (real name Nathaniel Hale) got his musical start by singing in the choir.
After he died unexpectedly last week at 41 from stroke complications, there was an outpouring of love for one of the West Coast rap scene's originals. Tomorrow there will be a funeral and life celebration at the Queen Mary Dome. (Details here.)
Hundreds attended the viewing today, including Mac Freedom (left), who was selling these memoriam T-shirts for $10: “Of course I'm a fan! We were making these shirts all week. From Long Beach to Compton to LA, we put Nate Dogg on display.”
Cruz Aldana made her own tribute T-shirt last night; she claims to be Nate Dogg's No. 2 fan: “He has too many No. 1 fans,” she explained. The Highland resident drove an hour and a half to be at the viewing: “I used to call him my imaginary husband.”
Aldana said she went inside the church to see Nate Dogg two times: “It was heartbreaking to see him there. It doesn't look like him at all.”
Everyone in Nate Dogg's family was in attendance; his mother welcomed attendees by his casket.
One of Nate Dogg's former partners, Rhoda Mouton, said that his death wasn't wholly unexpected. The mother of Nate Dogg's 15-year-old son Nigel said, “I saw him while he was sick. He was suffering for a long time.”
Another former partner, Janette Patterson (left), said, “He's in a better place. He suffered enough.”
The mother of Nate's son, 18-year-old Nate Jr., said she was pleased by today's showing. “He was loved everywhere–from church folk to rappers.”
Daniel Hale, Nate Dogg's brother (right), said about 2,000 people showed up at the viewing today. “I'm glad for all the support. Long Beach is showing its love; we grew up on 20th and Lime, and it's all much love.”
Nate Dogg's family could not confirm conflicting reports on tomorrow's funeral and life celebration, and whether the public will be able to attend tomorrow's event beyond the ticketed number of people.