SOUTH HOLLAND — The family of a man shot and killed Wednesday night said his skills as a rapper would've taken him far.
Johnny Taylor, 23, was shot multiple times in the back and upper body in the 100 block of South Springfield in West Garfield Park at 11:42 p.m., authorities said.
Taylor, who went by the name Johnnyboy Da'Prince, was last seen by his family in South Holland less than a week ago, his grandmother, Ora Taylor said.
"He came in and kissed me and wished me a belated happy birthday," she said between tears from her home in South Holland.
"I tried to make him stay," Taylor's cousin, Chakira Walker, 13, added. "I gave him a hug and told him I loved him and he told me he loved me back."
According to Taylor's sister Collisa Davis, 14, the aspiring rapper was funny, "extra-smart" and protective of her.
She later noted her plan to follow her brother's love for rapping in honor of him.
Taylor, the oldest of seven siblings, had a 4-year-old son, Chico, who lives in Houston with his mother, his family said.
Taylor's grandmother recounted the details of the late-night phone call from Taylor's father telling her the grim news: Taylor had initially been in surgery after being shot in the heart, but doctors couldn't save him.
"He had been going to the studio all the time — making them hits," Taylor's grandmother said.
She added that the young rapper was close to signing with Atlantic Records when he was killed.
An Atlantic Records representative said the label liked Taylor's music and hoped to introduce him to high-level executives, but wasn't close to signing him.
The Cook County medical examiner's office said Taylor was pronounced dead at 1:06 a.m. at Mt. Sinai Hospital. No suspects are currently in custody, police said.