Christmas is usually a time for happy reunions with family, but for Rihanna, it turned out to be the last time she’d see someone very important to her. On Tuesday, Rihanna’s cousin was shot and killed in Barbados, where the singer is from, and now, she’s calling for an end to gun violence once again.
According to Barbados Today, Rihanna’s cousin, Tavon Kaiseen Alleyne, was walking near his house in St. Michael on Tuesday night when he was shot by an unknown man multiple times. The man still hasn’t been found, and although Tavon was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, he, unfortunately, didn’t make it.
Late Tuesday night, Rihanna took to Instagram to share a small gallery of photos of her and Tavon together, mourning his loss after she’d seen him just the day before his death when their family celebrated Christmas together. It’s hard to imagine how she’s feeling right now, but she’s taking the opportunity to call attention to the necessity of ending gun violence, an issue that she’s spoken out about in the past — like she did in a tweet about the Las Vegas attack earlier this year.
“RIP cousin,” she wrote. “Can’t believe it was just last night that I held you in my arms! never thought that would be the last time I felt the warmth in your body!!! Love you always man! #endgunviolence.”
Later, she also shared a video of Tavon where he said, “It’s nice to wake up and see all of your brothers and sisters.” In her caption, Rihanna added, “be grateful for life man.”
Tavon was just 21 years old at the time of his death, and it seems like he and Rihanna have always been close. Earlier this year, he shared birthday wishes for her on his Instagram. “Your presence in my life is a source of joy and happiness,” he wrote in February alongside a photo of him and Rihanna together. “To my favorite cousin, may all your dreams and wishes come true.”
As the Independent reported, gun violence has been rising in Barbados over the last year, and 22 out of 28 murders there have been gun-related. So far, no further details have been released about what happened that night.
It’s heartbreaking to hear that Tavon was the victim of such a senseless crime, and that his family is now left to mourn his loss during the holiday season.