It is with heavy hearts that we must report that Phife Dawg, founding member of A Tribe Called Quest, has passed away. Phife, born name Malik Taylor, had been battling diabetes for most of his life and received a kidney transplant in 2008, donated by his wife. He was 45 years old.
According to a statement from his family Phife passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes.
“Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend. We love him dearly,” they wrote. “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.”
His manager Don Liverpool also 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.”
After recording five albums with A Tribe Called Quest, Phife released his first and only solo project Ventilation: Da LP in 2000. The album contained the semi-autobiographical “Melody Adonis” where he detailed his career ups and downs via his “relationship” with a microphone. Phife was also an avid sports fan named his Twitter account “Phife Sports Network.”
Condolences began pouring out on social media early Wednesday morning. We will have more on this story as it develops.