ATLANTA (AP) – Ludacris has thanked his fans for their support and asked for privacy to grieve following the death of his ailing father.

Wayne Brian Bridges, 52, died Sunday in an Atlanta hospital after a long illness, said Barry Florence, a publicist for the rapper.

“Mr. Wayne Bridges, I love you to death,” he said at the televised Los Angeles ceremony. Ludacris, whose real name is Chris Bridges, also won a Grammy at this year’s awards for best rap song for “Money Maker.”

“We are overwhelmed by the generous outpouring of love, condolences and support from family members, friends, fans and the many well-wishers,” said a statement released Monday by Ludacris’ family. “We thank you for your prayers and hope you will understand our need for privacy during this sorrowful time.”

The statement said Wayne Bridges was “a great influence on his son” and had exposed him to music as a young child.

Florence said the family had chosen not to publicly announce the cause of death and was planning a private funeral in Atlanta.


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