Retired New Orleans police officer who helped save rapper Lil Wayne‘s life when he shot himself at the age of 12 has died, according to his friends.

Robert Hoobler was found dead in his Old Jefferson home, a few miles from New Orleans, on Friday (July 22), said parish coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich. The cause of his death is unknown, though for several years he suffered from various health issues after a car wreck and a struggle with diabetes that led to both of his legs being amputated, according to his grandson Daniel Nelson.

David Lapene, a friend and former coworker at the Police department, said Lil Wayne‘s story of Hoobler saving his life 27 years ago is “one of the best stories that depicts Hoobler as a person.”

Lil Wayne, born as Dwayne Carter Jr., came across a 9 mm pistol in his mother’s Hollygrove apartment on Nov. 11, 1994 and accidentally shot himself in the chest. Hoobler heard the police radio report and, although off duty, drove to the scene, as did five other officers. No ambulance was available, so the ranking officer ordered Hobbler to rush the boy to a hospital. Hoobler carried Lil Wayne to the back seat and laid him across his lap.

The rapper has recounted the story in interviews. In one, he said he never knew racism because of Hoobler, a white man whom he called “Uncle Bob.”

“He was always people forward,” Lapene said. “He took care of the public just as much as he took care of the cops.”

After retiring from the Police department, Hoobler started working at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in 2009. He was fired and charged with malfeasance in office in 2012, for shooting a man he was arresting with a stun gun. He took a plea deal and served probation, and later received a pardon due to being a first offender.