In what has got to be heartbreaking news, Phife Dawg — legendary member of A Tribe Called Quest — reportedly passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, March 23rd, due to complications from diabetes. Pioneering DJ Chuck Chillout would first announce the news on his Twitter account, which would then be confirmed by Statik Selektah.
RIP to phife dog of tribe called quest pic.twitter.com/f4t5fvg4WD
— DJ Chuck Chillout (@djchuckchillout) March 23, 2016
Confirmed. rest in peace Phife. Man. I'm out.
— Statik Selektah (@StatikSelekt) March 23, 2016
Born Malik Isaac Taylor, Phife was perhaps the unheralded lyrical wizard A Tribe Called Quest, nimbly bouncing off of Q-Tip’s laid-back style with a frenetic, high-energy pattern. In 1990, Phife was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and had undergone a kidney transplant in 2008. ATCQ most recently experienced a renaissance in 2015, as they celebrated the 25th anniversary of their seminal debut People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm and performing “Can I Kick It?” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” their first television appearance together in over 15 years.
Several artists — including DJ A-Trak, 9th Wonder, Logic, Mac Miller, and Young Guru — have poured out their condolences on social media.
Rest in peace Phife ??
— Young Guru (@Young_Guru) March 23, 2016
One of the most influential rappers on me and hip hop period! Rest In Peace Phife Dawg and thank you for the legacy you leave behind.
— Bobby Tarantino アキラ (@Logic301) March 23, 2016
RIP PHIFE. DRINKING A DR PEPPER FOR U RIGHT NOW. pic.twitter.com/ClSNcuLR9P
— Mac (@MacMiller) March 23, 2016
— United Hairline (@atrak) March 23, 2016
Taylor was 45 years old.
UPDATE: Both Phife’s family and the remaining members of A Tribe Called Quest have issued their official statement.
“Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed. The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy… until he heeded his fathers call.
“We love his family his mother, his father, his son, his wife, his nieces, his family here in New York, Atlanta, California and Trinidad.
“Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJ’s, social media and the music community at large. This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him. His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you. We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy.
“We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother.” — A Tribe Called Quest
“We regret to share the news that on Tuesday March 22nd, 2016, Malik has passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes.
“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.
Dion Liverpool, his manager adds, “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 Dawg’s family