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Kevin Fret/YouTube

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Kevin Fret’s music video Soy Asi has more than half a million views on YouTube

The rapper and outspoken advocate for the LGBT community Kevin Fret has been shot dead in Puerto Rico aged 24.

The musician, described as Latin Trap music’s first openly gay artist, was killed in the capital San Juan on Thursday morning, police said.

Fret was shot at eight times while riding a motorbike in the street, and he was hit in the head and hip.

His death brings the number of murders in Puerto Rico this year to 22, police added. An investigation is under way.

Fret’s manager, Eduardo Rodriguez, described the rapper as “an artistic soul” who had a passion for music.

Confirming his death, Mr Rodriguez said: “There are no words that describe the feeling we have and the pain that causes us to know that a person with so many dreams has to go.

“We must all unite in these difficult times, and ask for much peace for our beloved Puerto Rico.”

Police are now searching for another man on a motorcycle who was with Fret when he was found, but quickly fled the scene.

‘Role model’

Kevin Fret was a rising Puerto Rican trap artist and his debut music video, Soy Asi (I’m Like This), has more than half a million views on YouTube.

“I’m a person that doesn’t care what anybody has to say,” he told online magazine Paper last year.

“[Now I see] young gay guys or young lesbians that are looking at me now like a role model, like wow, if he did it, and he don’t care what anybody else has to say, I can do it.”

However, Fret’s rise to prominence was not without turbulence – while living in Miami last year, he was charged with battery after a fight, media reported.

He said he had been attacked because of his sexuality, and threw a metal bottle at the man.

Fret has also responded strongly to homophobic threats in the lyrics of a rival musician, making some of his supporters wonder whether his murder was motivated by hate.

Puerto Rico has seen a rise in street crime in recent weeks, which has been described by police on the Caribbean island as a “crisis of violence”.