Rapper Phife Dawg, a member of rap pioneers A Tribe Called Quest, has died at the age of 45.
The founding member of the group died Tuesday after struggling from ill-health, which included diabetes for several years and a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008.
Born Malik Isaac Taylor in 1970, he first met his groupmates Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad while in high school and would later meet Jarobi White. The group was a catalyst in the late ’80s and ’90s to challenge gangsta, machismo rap by avoiding gun talk and instead rapping about their adventures in Queens, N.Y. The jazz-infused tracks produced some of the most monumental rap albums like The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders and is responsible for the classic hip-hop track “Can I Kick It?”
The 5 Footer’s death has led to an outpouring of tributes from celebrities on social media:
SOURCE: Billboard | PHOTO: Getty