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Surviving Run-DMC members retire group

Run-DMC: Jam Master Jay, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, and Joseph "Run" Simmons.

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Jam Master Jay, the DJ of the pioneering rap group Run-DMC, was shot in the head and killed in a New York recording studio. WABC's Jeff Rossen reports (October 31)
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniel announced their retirement Wednesday after the death last week of the third member of the legendary rap group, Run-DMC.

Jason Mizell, known as Jam Master Jay, was shot to death last Wednesday in a New York recording studio near where he grew up.

The two surviving members of Run-DMC said they'll never perform again under that name. The retirement announcement came at a press conference called to unveil the formation of a coalition of music industry artists and a fund intended to financially assist Mizell's family. Rappers Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Busta Rhymes and Foxy Brown were in attendance, along with Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons, Joseph Simmons' brother.

Meanwhile, police officials described an active and ongoing investigation into the death of Mizell. The New York Police Department is currently not providing police protection to anyone in connection with the case.

"We offered police protection to 50 Cent but he left the state." said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "He has a place in Pennsylvania." A protégé of Mizell, 50 Cent -- whose real name is Curtis Jackson -- canceled a show Thursday night.

"He was not comfortable in our presence," another police official said. Jackson is not believed to be a suspect.

Investigators have waited for days to speak with a man named Curtis Scoon. Police believe Mizell owed a debt of $10,000 to Scoon. "We don't have probable cause to arrest him, but we do want to speak with him," the official said.

Authorities also described confusion among witnesses to the shooting. Witnesses who initially described two masked men who walked up the stairs to the second-floor studio on Merrick Boulevard in the New York City borough of Queens now say there may have been only one assailant who was wearing a hat, not a mask.

Mizell was born on Jan. 21, 1965, in the middle-class Hollis neighborhood of Queens. In 1982, just out of high school as the genre was emerging, Mizell began scratching records for two other Hollis residents, rappers Simmons and McDaniels. The trio took the name Run-DMC.

A year later the group released its first single, "It's Like That." On its B side, the minimalist beat of "Sucker MC's" led some hip-hop fans to consider it the first hard-core rap song.

The trio became known as a pioneering force, credited with creating the current trend of combining rap music and rock 'n' roll with its hit remake of Aerosmith's "Walk this Way" in 1986, when Run-DMC teamed up with that band's lead singer, Steven Tyler, and guitarist, Joe Perry.

Run-DMC's hits also included "Down With the King," "You Be Illin'," "You Talk Too Much" and "My Adidas."

Mizell was married with three children.

-- CNN Producers Jamie McShane and Chris Murphey contributed to this report.

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