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Before Marshall Mathers became one of the most famous names in rap, it was a moniker associated with an absentee father and the infant son he left behind in Missouri.

Fans of Eminem’s music know the emcee frequently rails against his deadbeat dad, which means he’s likely experiencing some mixed emotions following today’s news that the man his father and namesake has passed away.

Marshall Bruce Mathers II

Multiple outlets have now confirmed that Marshall Bruce Mathers is dead at the age of 67.

The cause of death has been reported as a heart attack.

Eminem has not reacted to the death publicly, and it seems unlikely that he will do so.

According to Em’s mother, Debbie — who has also had a rocky relationship with her son over the years — met and married Marshall Sr. — who went by Bruce — when she was 15 and he was 22.

Eminem, Fist Raised

The couple split up shortly thereafter.

Marshall and his mother moved to Detroit, while Bruce headed west to California, where he remarried and fathered two more children.

Em says he repeatedly attempted to contact his father throughout his childhood and recalls his heartbreak upon finding the letters he had written in his mailbox, marked "return to sender."

On hit songs such as "Cleaning Out My Closet" and "My Name Is," the rapper made his feelings toward the absentee Bruce abundantly clear:

Eminem, Fist Raised

"My fa—t father must’ve had his panties up in a bunch ‘Cause he split, I wonder if he even kissed me goodbye," he rapped on "Closet."

No, I don’t, on second thought, I just f–kin’ wished he would die. I look at Hailie, and I couldn’t picture leavin’ her side."

Bruce wrote an open letter to his son in 2001 and published it in Detroit newspaper.

In the missive, he explained that he never intended to leave Marshall behind but was frightened off by Debbie, who warned him to stay away.

Eminem Image
(Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WEN)

It appears that Marshall Jr. never responded to his father’s request for a reconciliation.

Bruce’s third wife tells Radar Online she hasn’t had any contact with her ex in several years, but hopes that his death will lead Em to contact the half-siblings he’s never met.

“But maybe now that [his father] died, he can get in contact with them," she says.

Clearly, there are many complex emotions in play here, but losing a flawed or absentee parent is often a very painful experience, and our thoughts go out to Eminem and his family during this difficult time.