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Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest Dead at 45

Isaiah Trickey, Getty Images
Isaiah Trickey, Getty Images

Update:

Phife’s family has released an official statement on his passing. Read it below.

“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.”

Dion Liverpool, his manager adds, “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.”

The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.

Original Story:

It is with a heavy heart that we report Phife Dawg, member of the legendary A Tribe Called Quest, has passed away. He was 45 years old.

DJ Chuck Chillout announced his death and Statik Selektah confirmed it on Twitter late last night (March 22), saying, “Confirmed. rest in peace Phife. Man. I’m out.”

The outpouring of sadness on social media came quickly. He was always the underrated one of the group, the one who had to play the background as Q-Tip emerged as the leader and later a solo artist. In a way it makes his death even more depressing; though he was a member of one of the greatest rap groups of all time, he may have never gotten the roses while he could still smell them.

Nobody from the Tribe camp has spoken on his death yet.

The cause of death is also unknown at this time. Phife had a very public struggle with diabetes, which often left him drained of energy and unable to perform for long periods of time. He got a kidney transplant in 2008 to help treat his sickness. He was first diagnosed back around May of 1990.

Phife, born Malik Isaac Taylor, was born on November 20, 1970 in Queens, New York. There he became childhood friends with Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, or Q-Tip. They would go on to form A Tribe Called Quest with Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White. Their debut album People’s Instinctive Paths and the Paths of Rhythm was released on April 10, 1990, and they would go on to become one of the most historic rap groups of all time.

Just last year, the group reunited on ‘Jimmy Fallon’ to perform their classic joint “Can I Kick It?”

Rest in peace to the Five Foot Assassin.

Hip-Hop Reacts to Phife Dawg’s Death

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