Chambers said her son had his brushes with the law, but he was a good kid. Chicago police say Ronnie Chambers had a lengthy arrest record, but after seeing his three siblings die, Chambers said her son had begun to turn his life around for the better.

“He had started mentoring this young man,” Chambers said about her son. She was referring to Chicago aspiring rapper YK, short for Yung Killah, who Ronnie took under his wings. He’s from the same neighborhood as Ronnie Chambers, experiencing the same troubles he did at his age.

In December, Chambers’ son appeared on The Ricki Lake Show and shared his tumultuous past, and how he’s instilling a sense of hope and success into YK.

“I’m just trying to keep him on the right track,” Ronnie Chambers said in the appearance, as shown on the show’s YouTube channel. “He’s got unbelievable talent.”

In the same appearance, Ronnie Chambers said after his siblings died, he wanted to protect his mother and make her proud.

“I was so proud of him. I saw that he was doing some good things and I was really proud,” Chambers said she thought when she saw her son on television.

With a solemn face slowly rising into a smirk, Chambers said she will miss her son’s smile the most, along with his light-hearted comedic tone and seeing him encourage children.

“He’d always try to lead [children]  in the right direction,” Chambers said. He would tell them, “They don’t have to be out there doing drugs, guns or whatever. You can go further in life doing the right thing. So that’s what he was trying to do,” Chambers recalled.

According to Chicago police, there are no suspects in custody for the death of Ronnie Chambers, and this is an ongoing investigation.

Renita D. Young is a Chicago-based multimedia journalist. Follow her on Twitter @RenitaDYoung.