Hip-hop heavyweight Eminem has spoken publicly for the first time about the murder of rapper PROOF, insisting he wants to concentrate on the D-12 star's life rather than they way he died. The 32-year-old - real name DESHAUN HOLTON - was shot and killed at Detroit nightspot CCC on Michigan's infamous Eight Mile Road. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Conner Creek Medical Center on Tuesday morning (11APR06). Eminem counted Proof as his closest ally, and he was best man at the Lose Yourself rapper's second wedding to Kim Mathers earlier this year (06). He tells MTV, "You don't know where to begin when you lose somebody who's been such a big part of your life for so long. Proof and I were brothers. "He pushed me to become who I am. Without Proof's guidance and encouragement there would have been a Marshall Mathers, but probably not an Eminem and certainly never a Slim Shady. "Not a day will go by without his spirit and influence around us all. He will be missed as a friend, father and both the heart and ambassador of Detroit hip-hop." Eminem refuses to speculate on the course of events which led to Proof's death and club bouncer KEITH BENDER being hospitalised in a critical condition. He continues, "Right now, there's a lot of people focusing on the way he died. I want to remember the way he lived. Proof was funny, he was smart, he was charming. He inspired everyone around him. He can never, ever be replaced. He was, and always will be, my best friend."