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Update: The remaining members of A Tribe Called Quest have released a loving statement for their friend.
“Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed. The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy… until he heeded his father’s call.
“We love his family his mother, his father, his son, his wife, his nieces, his family here in New York, Atlanta, California and Trinidad.
“Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJ’s, social media and the music community at large. This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him. His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you. We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy.
We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother.”
Update: Phife Dawg’s family and management have issued a statement about his death.
“We regret to share the news that on Tuesday March 22nd, 2016, Malik has passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes. Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend. We love him dearly. How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family.”
Phife’s manager, Dion Liverpool, added: “While I mourn the loss of my best friend and brother, I also will celebrate his incredible life and contribution to many people’s ears across the world. Even with all his success, I have never met a person as humble as he. He taught me that maintaining a positive attitude and outlook can conquer anything. Now my brother is resting in greatness. I’m honored to have crossed paths with him. Riddim Kidz 4eva.”
El-P, Fly Lo, Aesop Rock, HudMo, Trevor Nelson, Estelle, Just Blaze and more pay tribute.
A Tribe Called Quest founding member Phife Dawg died this morning (March 23). He was 45.
The cause of the rapper’s death has yet to be confirmed, but is expected to be related to long-term health troubles, including diabetes.
Born Malik Isaac Taylor, Phife founded the Queens hip-hop crew with high school classmates Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad in 1985, and quickly became an influential force in East Coast rap.
Read some of the tributes from musicians and fans.