HE'S ALIVE!

That was the word yesterday from authorities regarding South Philly rapper Beanie Sigel, debunking wild online rumors that Jay Z's former protege had died after being shot earlier this month.

"I've been getting calls periodically for the last two days that somebody put it out," said Pleasantville, N.J., Police Capt. Sean Riggin, noting that Sigel is still recovering. He declined to elaborate on the rapper's medical condition, citing the family's wishes.

It is unclear how the hoax started, Riggin said, but it appears to be the work of a satirical news site. TMZ tweeted out a link to the post and the Internet quickly went into a frenzy.

Riggin said investigators were able to interview Sigel, whose real name is Dwight Grant, for the first time on Wednesday, but he would not provide details as to what was said.

Sigel has been hospitalized at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City since the Dec. 5 shooting at the home of his brother-in-law, Umar Salahuddin. Sigel was shot once in the chest and the bullet exited through his back.

There have been no arrests in the shooting and the motive remains a mystery.

Authorities said officers who responded to the shooting saw a gray Honda Odyssey flee the area and gave chase when passenger Ricky Childress jumped from the vehicle. Childress was detained by police for questioning and released. He remains a person of interest, but has not been charged.

Police later recovered the Honda, which was registered to Kamilah Salahuddin, Sigel's sister-in-law. Investigators have not interviewed her and attempts to contact her have been unsuccessful. She is considered a person of interest.

Additionally, Umar Salahuddin, 22, initially told police that his car, a silver Lincoln, had been stolen after the shooting. No suspect description was provided and he is no longer cooperating with the investigation, authorities said.

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