U.S. rapper Phife Dawg death at 45 caused by diabetes

Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:55pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Hip-hop artist Phife Dawg, a member of New York-based group A Tribe Called Quest, has died at the age of 45, his family said on Wednesday.

The family said in a statement that the musician, whose real name was Malik Taylor, died on Tuesday from complications 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," the statement added

The rapper had suffered from diabetes for many years and in 2008 he underwent a kidney transplant.

The hip-hop community on Wednesday mourned Phife Dawg's passing on social media, paying tribute to his influence in the 1990s when A Tribe Called Quest released albums such as "The Low End Theory" and "Midnight Marauders."

A Tribe Called Quest released its last studio album in 1998, and Phife Dawg released a solo album in 2000.

"Phife-HipHop & Rap word Warrior, simple as that, tweeted Public Enemy's Chuck D. "Breathed it & lined rhyme into Sport. A true fire Social Narrator my bro."

Tributes also came from comedian Chris Rock, music producer Russell Simmons, and drummer and producer Questlove of the Roots.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Members of A Tribe Called Quest (L-R): Consequence, Phife Dawg, Q-Tip and Jarobi White perform at the 4th Annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors event in New York in this October 4, 2007, file photo.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer/Files