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Guru’s Family Speaks on Rapper’s Death

The confusion over the death of pioneering rapper Guru (born Keith Elam) continues. Today (April 21) his family issued a press release contradicting many of the statements made by the Gang Starr MC’s business partner Solar.

As previously reported, Solar sent out a press release yesterday containing a letter he claims Guru wrote before passing. However, the Elam family said that Guru was in a coma since mid-February until his death and never regained consciousness, leading many fans and associates to believe that Guru did not write the letter.

“Not trying to bring negativity into the situation,” ?uestlove of The Roots wrote on his Twitter account. “But I do NOT believe he wrote that letter. 1) he was in a coma. 2) HE WAS IN A COMA!”

Solar addressed the claims of fraudulence in an interview with MTV. “I mean, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “Guru knew this time would come. The great artist he is, us being intelligent people, we knew there was going to have to be a statement relating to this. Unfortunately, there are those who have the wicked agenda, and just can’t accept that Guru and I have handled this thing as men and not children, and this is how men of honor handle their business. He arranged his press release. I’m the repository of Guru’s life story. I recorded his life story for book and for movies. We’re not foolish. He was diagnosed with cancer well over a year ago. It’s been operations and so forth. It would be ridiculous for him to not be prepared.”

The Elam family also addressed claims in Solar’s press release that Guru started a non-profit organization called Each One Counts, that’s dedicated to helping abused and disadvantaged children from around the world, as well as educating and researching a cure for myeloma, which the rapper suffered from.

“The family is not aware of any foundations established by Guru,” the Elams said. “We know and understand that countless fans want to express their condolences and love and, to that end, we are planning a memorial event in the near future that will be all-inclusive. Please look for further details from the family as they become available.”

The Elam family said that Guru suffered from multiple myeloma for over a year. Accrued complications from this illness led to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, which put the rap legend in a coma. On Monday morning, Guru became hypertensive due to low blood pressure and suffered a fatal heart attack.

Guru first burst onto the New York rap scene with DJ Premier in the late 1980s as Gang Starr. The group released six albums—1989’s No More Mr. Nice Guy, 1991’s Step into the Arena, 1992’s Daily Operation, 1994’s Hard to Earn, 1998’s Moment of Truth and 2003’s The Ownerz—and helped to create the underground East Coast hip-hop sound. Guru is also credited for being one of the first rappers to merge hip-hop and jazz with his Jazzmatazz series. Since going solo, Guru has gone on to release several discs of his own, including last May’s Guru 8.0: Lost and Found on the independent label 7 Grand.

As of press time DJ Premier has yet to release an official statement. Stay tuned to as more info emerges. —Elan Mancini

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