Terror Squad leader Fat Joe recently reflected on the unexpected passing of hip-hop icon Heavy D last fall and explained how much of a positive impact the late rapper had on his own life.

Thinking back to his pre-fame days, Joey Crack credited Heavy’s size and image for motivating him.

“It was a sad occasion when Heavy D passed. He’s somebody I look up to. He was a mentor, somebody who really inspired me growing up,” Joe said in an interview. “Being a big person Heavy D was doing it so big I’ve always admired him so it was a sad note — I had confidence. I felt like I was looking at TV and I seen a guy Heavy D and I’m Fat Joe from The Bronx. And I was dancing like him and it made me feel confident about myself. And I felt like fat guys could do it.” (“106 & Park”)

In late December, Heavy’s cause of death was finally revealed.

An autopsy performed on rapper Heavy D, who collapsed and died suddenly on Nov. 8, found that the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism, according to the report released Tuesday. The coroner’s office found that Dwight Arrington Myers, better known as Heavy D, died of a blood clot in his lung. He also suffered from deep leg vein thrombosis and heart disease. The blood clot was “most likely formed during an extended airplane ride,” said Craig Harvey, chief of the Los Angeles County department of coroner. The rapper had recently returned from a trip to London. (Los Angeles Times)

Around mid-November, initial autopsy results were inconclusive.

Results of a post-mortem into the death of rapper Heavy D have been inconclusive in determining why he died last week. The Los Angeles coroner’s office has deferred judgment on how the rapper died suddenly at the age of 44. Last week, a coroner’s spokesman said there were no illegal drugs found in his Beverly Hills home. Toxicology results have not yet been released. Heavy D’s funeral takes place near New York on Friday. Heavy D died on 8 November after being found unconscious at his Los Angeles home. (BBC)

Following his passing, Heavy D’s brother, Floyd Myers, said the “Overweight Lover” was in good condition.

“Heavy was in great shape,” Floyd Myers, the fallen rapper’s brother and business partner, told MTV News. “You guys seen him at the BET Awards, and he just did the tribute to Michael Jackson; they flew him out to London to do that. Heav was in good shape, healthy, no heart problems. He constantly made sure that his health was in check…He loved family, and that’s who he was, but it wasn’t too much different from how he treated his friends and his fans. He showed everybody love and affection, and we’re gonna miss that.” (MTV)

Check out Fat Joe’s “106 & Park” interview below: