Always in our memories. Nicki Minaj paid tribute to her fallen friend Juice Wrld after his untimely death on December 8. During her speech at the Billboard Women in Music on Thursday, December 12, the songstress, 37, took a moment to say some kind words about the 21-year-old.

“I recently had the pleasure of working and touring with Juice WRLD,” Nicki began. “I had a great conversation with him and while we walked to the stage, he held my hand and told me to stay calm and to pray. He said that he had been trying to do just that.”

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She continued, “I was so shocked to hear him — of all people — tell me that, but right there in that room with him telling me that, I actually did feel calm and I felt like, ‘Hmm … what am I actually worried about?’,” adding, “I felt like he was a kindred spirit. And looking back now, I wish I did something differently or said something to help.”

Although the event was organized to honor women in music, Nicki said she felt compelled to pay her respects to the late rapper. “It doesn’t feel comfortable for me to talk about me when someone so important to our culture just died,” the artist said. “I want to honor him tonight and send my condolences to him and his family and his girlfriend and his friends and everybody.”

Nicki also took the time to warn others about the dangers of addiction, as Juice Wrld had struggled with substance abuse. “I want to tell everyone that ‘Drugs isn’t the problem’ isn’t the way we fix our problem,” she said. “So it’s so important that we don’t pass judgment so that people don’t feel ashamed to speak up and ask for help. It’s so important that we talk about mental health. It is. Because people are dying because they don’t want to express how miserable they are and how much they’re suffering, so they’d rather medicate themselves.”

The “Super Bass” singer concluded her sentiment, stating, “I just wanted to encourage everyone to talk about whatever it is that you need to talk about and to be honest and open, and get help.”

After having a seizure in Midway Airport in Chicago, Juice Wrld was rushed to the hospital. Soon after arrival he passed away. An autopsy was performed on Monday, December 9, but the results were inconclusive and will need additional testing. Although there is no confirmation on his cause of death, he was reportedly seen swallowing Percocet pills in order to hide them from the FBI and FAA.

“We loved Jarad [Higgins] with all of our hearts and cannot believe our time with him has been cut short,” his mother, Carmella Wallace, told TMZ on Thursday, December 12. “As he often addressed in his music and to his fans, Jarad battled with prescription drug dependency. Addiction knows no boundaries and its impact goes way beyond the person fighting it.”

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