An aspiring songwriter was murdered yards from his home in west London.
Trainee electrician Fernando Johnson, 23, was ambushed by two men while getting out of his car on Rosebank Way, near the A40 dual carriageway in Acton at 2.15am.
Police were called to reports of a man “significantly injured”.
Officers and paramedics attended but despite best efforts of the emergency services, he died at the scene.
Scotland Yard said it was too early to say if the victim had been stabbed or shot. A post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.
But a cousin, paying tribute to a musician “just about to get on the map”, told the Standard: “He lived on the road where he was stabbed.
“Two people jumped him and knifed him as her got out of his car. He had just popped out.
“It’s a tragedy - we are all devastated. He was such a lovely person who will be sadly missed.
“This isn’t gang-related, as far as we know. He was doing so well with his music and going places. He was going to be a big name. He was so positive and a lovely person. He had two brothers. No one can believe it.”
A family statement issued by the cousin to the Standard said: “He was greatly loved by family and friends and well known to the community he always had a smile on his face and greeted everyone with a big smile and hug.
“He was a loving family man. He wanted the world to hear his story through his music. He was passionate about achieving his ambitions.
“He was a talented footballer and played for QPR as a youngster. He was very polite and brilliant with people of all ages. It’s a great loss to the family and community, we will make sure his memory lives on. His mother, father, grandmother and two elder brothers are devastated like all of us. He was the apple of their eye.”
A police cordon remains around the crime scene as detectives trawl for clues and looking through CCTV.
One resident added: “I heard some shouting and people running away, then there were blue lights everywhere with ambulances and police. It’s truly frightening.”
The victim is only the fourth killing in London of 2023, as detectives witness a dramatic fall in killings.
Of the 109 homicides in 2022, the lowest number since 2014, nine were fatal shootings and 69 stabbings. Fourteen teenagers were killed, down from a post-war record of 30 the previous year.
Several rappers have died in street violence over the last 12 months.
Lemar Rashawan Urqhart, 27, who performed as Perm, was shot after a car chase in Brixton on October 31.
Innocent Deliveroo driver Guilherme Messias da Silva, 23, also died when he was knocked off his moped in the same incident.
Saydi Abu Sheikh, 23, who rapped under the name Giddy, and Zakariya Jeilani Mohamed, 32, who used the name Shifty, were shot dead at a terrace house in Ilford on October 25, while in September another musician, Maximillian Kusi-Owusu, 29, known as M Lo, was shot dead in Kensington High Street.
On the final day of the Notting Hill Carnival in August, 21-year-old Takayo Nembhard, who performed as TKorStretch, was fatally stabbed.
Anyone with information on the Acton death is asked to contact police on 101, quoting CAD 514/26Jan or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.