Rapper Phife Dawg, who’s unassailable skill helped make A Tribe Called Quest into both a commercial and critical crossover success, died today from complications resulting from diabetes. He was only 45.
Taylor had suffered wtih health issues for years, undergoing a kidney transplant in 2008 to deal with a longtime battle with diabetes. “It’s really a sickness,” Taylor said in Beats, Rhymes & Life, Michael Rapaport’s candid 2011 documentary on the group. “Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar.”
“Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend,” his family said in a statement. “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 web has reacted with a deluge of tributes for the acclaimed rapper:
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) March 23, 2016
— HASEEB (@HASEEBthefew) March 23, 2016
His mother, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, wrote on Facebook.”Family, my heart is shattered at the loss of my beautiful son,” “Thank you for your love and good wishes. Malik made me so proud, and he was a good and humble son. What holds me is that he brought joy through his music and sports, and that he lived a magical life. He is with his beloved grandmother and his twin brother Mikal today. God bless you Malik Boyce Taylor. Please send prayers to my daughter-in-law Deisha.”
Taylor appeared on all five of the group’s studio albums from 1991’s The Low End Theory and 1993’s Midnight Marauders. The group broke up and reunited multiple times since the release of their last album, 1998’s the Love Movement.
In recent years A Tribe called Quest would occasionally reunite for live shows, but stopped short at recording new material.