Phife Dawg dies aged 45

'Can I Kick It?' rapper Phife Dawg has died aged 45

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Phife Dawg

Phife Dawg

A Tribe Called Quest rapper Phife Dawg has died aged 45.

The 'Can I Kick It?' hitmaker and founding member of the pioneering hip-hop group - whose real name is Malik Isaac Taylor - has passed away after a long battle with type 2 diabetes.

His exact cause of death is not known, however he received a kidney transplant in 2008 and has openly spoken in the past of his struggles to control diabetes, a condition where the body can't use insulin properly, meaning it can't control blood sugar levels.

He said in 2011: "It's really a sickness. Like straight-up drugs. I'm just addicted to sugar...

"Even though I knew I had [diabetes], I was in denial. I had to have my sugar. You have to accept it. If you don't accept it, it's going to kick your ass."

The sad news comes less than four months after the rapper said he was doing well with his health issues.

He said: "I am in a good spot, but I have my good days and I have my bad days. But I'm more or less in a good spot, so I can't really complain."

DJ Chuck Chillout confirmed the news of the star's death on Twitter on Wednesday (23.03.16) and simply penned: "RIP to phife dog of tribe called quest."

A flood of tributes from the rap world and beyond have poured in for Taylor, with fellow rapper Chuck D hailing the lyricist "a true fire social narrator".

British star Ghostpoet expressed his sadness on Twitter and wrote: "Nooooo, RIP Phife Dawg. One of the greatest(sic)" alongside an emoji of a crying face.

'American Boy' hitmaker Estelle took to the social media site to pay her respects and shared a line from his hit track ''Check The Rhime' when she wrote: "You on point Phife (sic)"

'Insane In The Brain' hitmakers Cypress Hill paid their respects by tweeting lyrics from A Tribe called Quest's hit Scenario: "Ay yo, Bo knows this & Bo knows that but Bo don't know jack cause Bo can't rap(sic)".

Away from Twitter, Kendrick Lamar got 18,000 people at his gig at Sydney Olympic Park stadium in Australia to chant "Phife Dawg" in unison in tribute to the the hip-hop star.

Taylor started A Tribe Called Quest with his classmates Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad in Queens, New York, in 1985.

The trio released their final album 'The Love Movement' in 1998 after disagreements within the group drove them apart, however, they later reunited to perform at live shows, partly to help cover the costs of Taylor's medical treatment.

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