Gone But Not Forgotten: 2010
Gang Starr Guru EMI

Rapper Guru has died at the age of 43 after a long battle with cancer, according to a statement released by his friend and producer Solar.

The New York MC - whose real name was Keith Elam - suffered cardiac arrest on March 2 and had been in a coma.

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"The world has lost one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all-time --my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru," reads the statement. "Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but tragically, this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius."

Accompanying the statement was a letter, apparently written by Guru before his death and passed on to Solar, that would appear to maintain a beef Guru had with DJ Premier. Premier and Guru made up the hip-hop duo Gang Starr, which released six albums between 1989 and 2003.

Gang Starr ~Mass Appeal~

"I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world. I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease," the letter reads.

"I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events, tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this," continues the letter. "I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ."

In addition to his work with Gang Starr, Guru released an acclaimed series of "Jazzmatazz" albums that fused hip-hop with jazz and featured collaborations with Cortney Pine, Roy Ayers and Kool Keith.