SIR Elton John was due to begin work on his upcoming hip-hop album with Eminem on the day the rapper's D12 bandmate PROOF was murdered. The STAN star's best friend Proof - real name DESHAUN HOLTON - was shot dead in a Detroit, Michigan, nightclub in April (06) after he reportedly opened fire on a bouncer at the CCC venue. And John cancelled his trip to Detroit to allow Eminem time to come to terms with his tragic loss, but the pair are due to hit the studio soon. The 59-year-old says, "I spoke to Eminem last week. He's not retired but he's been through a hell of a year. "I was due to fly to Detroit to write some songs with him on the day that his friend Proof was shot. But it didn't happen due to the tragic circumstances. "I'm working with him and PHARRELL (WILLIAMS) and others on a new album." Openly gay John shocked the world when he performed with Eminem at the 2001 Grammy Awards - Eminem had recently made headlines for lyrics perceived to be homophobic.