NEW YORK, April 20 (UPI) -- Keith Elam, a U.S. rapper known professionally as MC Guru, has died of cancer-related causes, his friend, producer Solaar said. Elam was 43.
Best known for his work with the influential hip-hop group Gang Starr, Elam died Monday.
"The world has lost one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all-time -- my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru," Solaar said in a statement issued to MTV News. "Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but
tragically, this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius."
MTV News said Elam wrote a letter to his followers to be released upon his death.
"I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options," he said in the message. "I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life. I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting."