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PHIFE DAWG,
1970-2016

Phife Dawg, one of the founding members of iconic hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, passed away early this morning. He was 45.

The cause of death has yet to be determined, but the influential rapper—known for his slick rhymes—had been battling diabetes for years and even underwent a kidney transplant in 2008.

Three ATCQ albums immediately went into iTunes' Top 15: The Anthology; the classic The Low End Theory; and Midnight Marauders. Their groundbreaking People's Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm was at #47 at noon PT.

An outpouring of grief over the loss of Phife—born Malik Isaac Taylor in Queens, NY—has flooded social media. See select tweets below.

 

This afternoon, the group released a statement.

From A Tribe Called Quest on the death of Malik I. Taylor p.k.a Phife Dawg The 5 ft. Assassin:

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 fathers 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.

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