KID ROCK DEVASTED AT LOSS OF “FAMILY” MEMBER

Joe Celleja passes away in his sleep after a lifetime fight against illness...

KID ROCK’s diminutive sidekick and friend JOE CALLEJA (aka JOE C) died in his sleep last Thursday (November 16) at his home in TAYLOR, MICHIGAN after a lifetime fight against illness. He was 26.

In statement issued shortly after his friend’s death, Kid Rock mourned the loss of part of his “family”.

“Family and friends are everything,” he said. “Without them, all of the fame and fortune means nothing… Joey gave us and the world his love. He brought a smile to everyone who has ever known or seen him. He gave us the gift of joy. Joey, thank you. We will never forget you. We love you.”

Calleja’s death was ruled due to natural causes and his body released to the family without need for an autopsy.

The rapper’s short height, said[url=]www.sonicnet.com, was the result of celiac disease, a digestive disorder that required him to be on almost constant medication, taking more than 60 pills a day and be monitored by a machine at night.

He made his musical debut by providing backing vocals on Kid Rock’s1998 album, ‘Devil Without a Cause’, and also worked on a solo version of ‘Kyle’s Mom’s A Big Fat Bitch’ for last year’s ‘South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut’ soundtrack.

His illness led him to quit full-time touring with Kid Rock in November 1999, though he did return for a series of dates this past summer with, amongst others, Metallica, System Of A Down and Korn.

Korn frontman Jonathon Davis has also paid tribute.

“He had a really positive energy about him,” Davis told MTV’s TRL on Friday (November 17). “For such a little guy, he really lived big and walked big, and he’s going to be missed… He did bring happiness to a lot of people.”