The night of Heavy D's big comeback performance, Hill said he was both nervous and excited but determined to nail his performance.
At dinner afterward, Hill remembered the joy on Heavy's face as he took in the accolades for his performance. "It was something long overdue," he said. "I think he felt that night how important he was to hip-hop."
On the Saturday before his death, Heavy D sent Hill an email thanking him and saying he was looking forward to continuing their discussion about marketing the rapper to the 35-plus, adult hip-hop audience.
The rapper had just returned from a trip to London, where he saw James Earl Jones in a stage production of "Driving Miss Daisy."
On his Twitter feed, he exhibited "relentless optimism," writing, "All glory comes from daring to begin," two days before his death. And "be inspired" on the day he collapsed in front of his Beverly Hills building.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.