The family of A Tribe Called Quest co-founder Phife Dawg has revealed that diabetes caused the rapper’s death. Phife, real name Malik Taylor, passed away on Tuesday (March 22) at the age of 45.
“We regret to share the news that on Tuesday March 22nd, 2016, Malik has passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes,” read a statement sent to Billboard. “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.”
Phife’s manager, Dion Liverpool, adds in the statement, “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.”
Phife, also known as the “Five Foot Assassin” and “Phife Diggy,” had been battling diabetes for over two decades after revealing the diagnosis in 1990. He founded the iconic hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, whose members included Q-Tip, DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White.
ATCQ’s 1990 debut People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.