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50 Cent has had the media and fans alike going crazy over recent pictures he posted of himself 50+ pounds skinnier than what everyone is used to seeing. The reason for the weight loss comes as the rapper turned entrepreneur started filming a role as a cancer patient for ‘Things Fall Apart.’ He is playing the role in tribute to a friend who died of the disease.

The rapper, who plays a football player with cancer in the upcoming film dropped from 214 pounds to 160 in nine weeks after liquid dieting and running on a treadmill three hours a day. Sounds like a difficult lifestyle to get used to but interestingly enough, not for 50. The 33-year-old said that when he was shot in the jaw in 2000, he could drink only liquids and his weight dropped to 157.

‘This time it was a lot tougher for me,’ the hip-hop mogul said in an interview Friday with the Associated Press. ‘I had to discipline myself not … to actually have myself be in the physical state to convey the energy I felt. It’s a passion project for me.’

In order to help him get through the weight loss, 50 looked to other actors who had previously gone through drastic weight loss for a film. Robert De Niro, Christian Bale, Tom Hanks and Renee Zellweger are among actors known for going through this process. ‘I actually got on the computer, when it started getting difficult, I was looking to see what their experience was like and I got a chance to see all of the interviews they had at different time periods when they were doing promotion for the projects.’

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On the recent photos, ‘The photograph that they see of me is day one of shooting the second half of ‘Things Fall Apart,” he said. ‘The weight started coming off and my manager told me, ‘You better get yourself to a doctor!’ I just didn’t want to go because I had to match the look in my mind.’

He continued, ‘I was so into what I was doing that I wasn’t really concerned with that. I just kept looking at myself in the mirror feeling like I have to be smaller. I had to match. I had so much muscle on me that it was hard for me to lose definition even as I got lighter and slimmer. I started running to suppress my appetite. Towards the end it was really difficult. It was like, if I don’t get close enough to what my best friend looked like to me at that point before he passed, then I’m not doing the story any justice.’

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50 realizes how drastic this change has been, ‘I think the world took note because people kept making comparisons with great actors like Tom Hanks in ‘Philadelphia’ and Christian Bale in ‘The Machinist’. There is no way to play a role like this without really committing to it.’

‘I haven’t received accolades that comes with the success that I’ve had in music.’ He noted that it’s simply rewarding to already have people aware of the role.

50 has already started to gain the weight back, currently at 198 pounds.

-RachelSamara