Rapper Busta Rhymes gave his condolences to the family of his slain bodyguard as he mourned ISRAEL RAMIREZ at a New York funeral wake yesterday (09FEB06).

Ramirez, 29, was fatally shot in the chest outside a Brooklyn, New York City, warehouse on Sunday (05FEB06). Rhymes had been filming the music video for TOUCH IT (REMIX) with G-Unit rappers Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks and Missy Elliott at the location.

Rhymes - real name TREVOR SMITH - and six bodyguards arrived at Amsterdam Avenue funeral parlour in Manhattan yesterday afternoon to mourn the father-of-three.

Ramirez's friend ALEX ECHAVARRIA, who was at the funeral house when Rhymes arrived, tells the New York Daily News, "He put out his condolences, and that's it.

"He prayed with the family and mourned for the body. It was the best thing he could have done. It showed genuineness. I'm glad he came down here. It showed a different side of the industry.

"Busta's never been known to do gangsta rap. We all know it's not in him."

While Ramirez's family had initially criticised the hip-hop star for not giving police enough information about the shooting, they were calmer after he spent 40 minutes paying tribute to his late bodyguard.

Ramirez's sister ROSIE RODRIGUEZ, 38, says, "He was very sincere. He talked about what my brother was like. He said all the beautiful things that we already knew, but he said it in more detail."

Rodriguez added Rhymes had offered to financially support the bodyguard's three children.