Family and friends of the late Heavy D will attend a private ceremony to honor the hip-hop legend in his hometown of Mount Vernon, NY later on this week.

On Friday, Nov. 18 at 11 a.m. ET, Revered Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson will deliver the eulogy at Grace Baptist Church of Mount Vernon. The viewing will be held at the church on Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. ET. A telephone line has been set up with more details about the arrangements at (212) 381-2037.

Last Tuesday night, Heavy D passed away at the age of 44 in Los Angeles. According to local officials, the artist/actor had just come back to his Beverly Hills home from shopping when he started having trouble breathing. A 911 call was placed from his home at around 11:25 am to report an unconscious male on the walkway. When help arrived, the artist/actor was conscious and speaking and was transported to a nearby hospital where he eventually died. One of his associates told the celebrity news and gossip website TMZ that the he had pneumonia.

Heavy D, whose real name is Dwight Arrington Myers, was born in Jamaica in 1967 and moved to Mount Vernon, NY as a child. After discovering rap and making demo tapes, he formed Heavy D & The Boyz with DJ Eddie F, G-Wiz and the late Trouble T-Roy. From 1987 to 1994, the group was responsible for like “The Overweight Lover’s in the House,” “We Got Our Own Thang,” “Now That We Found Love,” “Nuttin’ but Love” and “Black Coffee.” In 1997, as a solo act, Heavy D had R&B hit with “Big Daddy.” In 2008, following a long hiatus from recording, Heavy D looked back to his Jamaican roots and released the reggae album “Vibes,” which received positive reviews and was nominated for a Grammy.

The artist also partook in what’s considered two of the greatest posse cuts in hip-hop history with “Don’t Curse,” which featured Grand Puba, Pete Rock, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap and CL Smooth, and “Self Destruction,” which featured legends like Public Enemy, KRS-One, Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh and MC Lyte.

Heavy D was praised by critics for being himself and keeping it fun, especially during the 1990’s when the tough guy image became more prevalent in hip-hop. He was also praised for his positive tracks, party jams and ability to express his admiration for women in his songs that wasn’t disrespectful or pandering. He also contributed heavily behind the scenes as well.

The rapper was also president of Uptown Records where he helped discover and develop some of the more well-known hip-hop and R&B acts of the late 1980’s and 1990’s including Al B. Sure!, Soul IV Real, Monifah, Adina Howard and Pete Rock & CL Smooth.

Heavy D also had a productive career as an actor. He appeared in the Martin Lawrence/Eddie Murphy film “Life,” had a role in the Oscar-nominated “The Cider House Rules” and had recurring roles as a counselor on “Boston Public” and on the Queen Latifah sitcom “Living Single.” He also appeared in the off-Broadway play Riff Raff at Circle Repertory Company.

Other artists, actors and writers went to social media websites like Twitter to express their grief.

“About 20 summers ago Heavy took me out ont he road as his opening act,” said comedian Chris Rock. “Best time of my life. Really gonna miss him.”

“Of everything Hev was, thee best father to his daughter,” wrote writer Dream Hampton on her Twitter page. “Totally Present. Everyday.”

“…just a sick feeling…praying for his daughter and his family,” stated Boyz II Men’s Twitter page.

Even actress Alyssa Milano mentioned on Twitter some advice the rapper once gave her. “Heavy D gave me advice when I was pregnant,” she said. “He said ‘Cherish every single moment. It goes by way too fast.’ Rest in peace, Heavy D.”

On his own Twitter page, Heavy D’s last tweets involved celebrating the legacy of boxer Joe Frazier, who passed away yesterday and statements of inspiration. His last tweet? “BE INSPIRED.”

The artist/actor’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers that well wishers make donations to the Heavy D and Xea Myers Fund: C/O JP Morgan Chase, 726 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10085.