Phife Dawg, a founding member of the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, died on Tuesday. He was 45.
According to Rolling Stone, the rapper — born Malik Isaac Taylor — had been struggling with Type 1 diabetes for the past few years. He famously called himself “the Funky Diabetic” and shared his struggle with the disease in the 2012 documentary “Beats, Rhymes and Life.”
He received a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008 and told NPR last year that he was on the list to receive another kidney.
Phife, who was was known for his high-pitched voice and diminutive size (his other nicknames included “Five Foot Assassin” and “The Five Footer”), was recently working on a new album, “Muttymorphosis.”
He formed A Tribe Called Quest in the late 1980s with Q-Tip, DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White. They signed to Jive Records and released the first of five studio albums, “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm,” in 1990. The group’s 1996 album “Beats, Rhymes and Life” reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. They most recently reunited on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” last November.
Phife also released a solo album in 2000, “Ventilation: Da LP.”
Member of the music industry took to twitter on Wednesday to remember the rapper.
“Phife — Hip Hop & Rap word Warrior, simple as that. Breathed it & lined rhyme into Sport. A true fire Social Narrator my bro,” Chuck D tweeted from Public Enemy tweeted.
“Phife didawg… #RIP fam love you brother. You left the world with jewels man. My childhood,” Marlon Wayans wrote.
“Phife Dawg, rest in peace. Forty-five is too, too young. But you did kick it: ‘Low End Theory’ turned the worm,” tweeted David Simon.