Malik Isaac Taylor, aka Phife Dawg, founding member of A Tribe Called Quest, died last night at the age of 45.
Phife battled diabetes and other health complications throughout his entire life. His family confirmed the cause of death:
"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."
Phife's manager and friend Dion Liverpool added:
“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.”
As the originator of A Tribe Called Quest with fellow Hip Hop pioneer Q-Tip, Phife was known for his raw lyrical prowess and creative style. Also referred to as "The Five Foot Assassin" due his height being 5' 3'', he grew to become one of the most recognized voices of all time. His influence on Hip Hop and music in general will forever be engrained in the culture, the entire music industry is mourning his death today. Here is how other noteworthy artists are responding:
[Quotes via: Billboard]