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Ol' Dirty Bastard Leaves Hospital After Robbery Shooting

July 1, 1998 12:00 AM ET

Less than nine hours after being shot in the back during an alleged robbery, Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard walked out of a New York hospital against doctors' orders.

The 29-year-old Brooklyn resident checked himself into St. John's Hospital's emergency ward shortly after the shooting, which took place at 5:30 p.m. in the Brownsville section of the borough. Two men entered ODB's apartment at 254 Ralph Ave. and threatened him with a gun before stealing an undisclosed amount of money and jewelry, according to a police spokeswoman.

ODB, who was born Russell Jones, was shot once during the robbery. The bullet entered through his back and exited through an arm, hospital spokesman Lars Larmon told JAMTV on Wednesday.

"He was very lucky that the bullet didn't hit any organs and just grazed the body," he said. "It could have gone anywhere else and he wouldn't be here today."

Doctors treated ODB for superficial wounds and used an oxygen monitor to regulate his breathing because they feared the bullet had grazed his lungs, Larmon said. No complications arose, and ODB was listed in stable condition until approximately 2 a.m., when he suddenly checked out of the hospital. He was scheduled to remain under observation until at least 11 a.m., when St. John's generally discharges patients who have obtained a doctor's approval.

"He got out of bed, started getting his things together...walked out the emergency room door, got into his van and drove off," Larmon said.

A spokeswoman for ODB said he is recuperating at a nearby home, but will not return to his Brooklyn apartment for some time. She could not comment on whether the rapper knew his assailants or would help the police identify suspects.

The 81st Precinct of the Brooklyn Police has made no arrests in this case, but the police spokeswoman said they suspect the robbery was a random act of violence rather than an attempted hit on the multiplatinum rapper.

"It was a terrible thing to have happen," the chairman of Loud Records, Steven Rifkind, said in a press release Wednesday. "Thankfully, he is OK and we are praying for a speedy recovery."

ODB, who changed his name to Big Baby Jesus in April, suffered another run-in with the law on May 20, when a Brooklyn judge ordered him to pay $35,000 in back child support to Icelene Jones, the mother of three of his children. One month earlier, he pleaded guilty to attempted assault against the same woman.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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