At a Hollywood news conference on March 17, 1995, former N.W.A frontman Eazy-E told the world that he had AIDS. In a prepared statement, Ron Sweeney, the rapper's friend and attorney, said that Eric Wright had learned two weeks prior—and that he was listed in critical condition at the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "I'm not religious, but wrong or right, that's me," Sweeney said on behalf of Eazy-E. "I'm not saying this because I'm looking for a soft cushion wherever I'm heading. I just feel I've got thousands and thousands of young fans that have to learn about what's real when it comes to AIDS. I've learned in the last week that this thing is real and it doesn't discriminate. It affects everyone." Prior to Eazy-E's own admission, the West Coast rap world was being dominated by the push and pull between N.W.A's former home, Ruthless Records, and the upstart label, Death Row, which had been formed by Suge Knight—who was intent on launching Dr. Dre as his flagship artist. According to former N.W.A manager and Ruthless Records co-founder, Jerry Heller, Knight got Dre out of his contract by threatening him with baseball bats and lead pipes. On March 26, 1995—one month after the initial diagnosis—Eazy-E passed away at approximately 6:35 p.m. PST. In eulogizing Wright, the Rev. Cecil Murray urged those in attendance at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church to rejoice in Wright's life but learn lessons from the way he had died. "I know a little blackbird that sings," Murray said, pointing his finger at the coffin. "And his lyrics are, 'I want you to live. I want you to be careful. I want you to slow down.'"