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NEW YORK: The father of rapper Nicki Minaj was killed after being struck by a vehicle in a hit and run on Long Island, New York.
Robert Maraj was walking in the roadway near the intersection of Roslyn Road and Raff when he was hit by a northbound vehicle that left the scene, the Nassau County Police Department said in a statement.
Maraj, 64, a resident of Mineola, was taken to a hospital in critical condition, police said, before he was pronounced dead by a doctor on Saturday. A representative for Minaj confirmed his death but did not provide further details. The Nassau County Police Department said its Homicide Squad was investigating.
Minaj, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, was born in Trinidad before being raised in the New York City borough of Queens. The death of her father comes just four months after she welcomed her first child with her husband Kenneth Petty.
Minaj has spoken previously about crack cocaine use and domestic violence at her childhood home in Jamaica, Queens, including an episode in which her father tried to burn down her house.
In an interview in 2015, Minaj was asked if she was abused by her father. “No. He was just abusive,” she said. “I would always hear him yelling and cursing, always. And it made me feel it was the way to interact, because that’s how I saw him interacting.”
Minaj said in a 2010 interview that as a child, she “always felt like being rich would cure everything,” allowing her to take care of her mother so they could leave her father.
“That was always what drove me,” she said. “I was disappointed in my father,” she said. “I was afraid, very afraid, that something would happen to my mother. I had nightmares about it.”