Phife Dawg, A Tribe Called Quest founding member, dead at 45

By Wade Sheridan  |  March 23, 2016 at 7:03 AM
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NEW YORK, March 23 (UPI) -- A Tribe Called Quest founding member Phife Dawg, real name Malik Taylor, has died at the age of 45.

Confirmed by Rolling Stone, Taylor died Wednesday with an official statement announcing his death yet to be released.

An official cause of death is still unknown however, Taylor has notably suffered through multiple health problems throughout the years related to his longtime battle with Type 1 diabetes. According to Billboard, the rapper underwent a kidney transplant in 2008 following a renal failure due to diabetes complications.

In the documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, Taylor spoke about his diabetes mentioning "It's really a sickness. Like straight-up drugs. I'm just addicted to sugar."

A Tribe Called Quest formed in the late 1980s by frontman Q-Tip (Jonathan Davis), Taylor, DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White. Out of the group's five albums, Beats, Rhymes and Life from 1996 reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 while its follow-up The Love Movement from 1998, peaked at No .3 on the charts. Taylor nicknamed the "Five Foot Assassin" released his only solo effort, Ventilation: Da LP in 2000.

Regarded as pioneers of alternative hip-hop, A Tribe Called Quest was honored in 2005 with a Special Achievement Award at the Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta. The band last performed together on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last November.

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