Following the death of rapper Guru -- born Keith Elam -- after a year- long battle with cancer, fans, friends and family have taken to twitter and other social networks to mourn their loss, as a controversy over an alleged letter written by the late hip hop star rages on.
Snoop Dogg wrote, "420 gonna be in honor of the big homie Guru ... respect the foundation ... Light one up for the legend," while Nicki Minaj wrote "A hip-hop legend. RIP." Busta Rhymes wrote, "DEATH IS SO PERMANENT THAT IT MAKES U MISS THE ONES U LOVE SO MUCH QUICKER..R.I.P GURU!" Rappers N.O.R.E. and Imam Thug paid tribute to Guru with a freestyle over the Gang Starr song "Mass Appeal" and DJ Mister Cee performed a tribute mix on New York radio station Hot 97.
Guru's death was first announced via a statement from friend and producer Solar. The statement included a letter supposedly written by Guru and solicited donations to a foundation allegedly set up in the late rapper's memory.
In the weeks prior to his death, members of the Elam family accused Solar of preventing them from visiting Guru in the hospital. Today, Guru's family released a statement of their own saying that Guru had been in a coma since February and never regained consciousness, implying that the letter was forged.
"GURU suffered from multiple myeloma for over a year," it reads. "Accrued complications from this illness led to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. As a result, GURU was in a coma from mid February until his death and never regained consciousness. Early on the morning of April 19th, he became hypertensive due to low blood pressure. He again went into cardiac arrest and slipped away from us. GURU died far too young but he was, and we are, proud of all his many legendary musical contributions.
"The family is not aware of any foundations established by GURU. 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."
Frequent Gang Starr collaborator Bumpy Knuckles voiced his concern, writing via Twitter, "MEDIA: INSTEAD OF POSTING THE FAKE LETTER, ASK #FUCKSOLAR FOR THE AUTOPSY! I WANNA SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO GURU!" ?uestlove of the Roots wrote, "not trying to bring negativity into the situation. but i do NOT believe he wrote that letter. 1) he was in a coma. 2) HE WAS IN A COMA!"
In response to the skepticism, Solar told MTV, "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."