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A Tribe Called Quest Co-Founder Phife Dawg Dead at 45

Questlove, Russell Simons and other stars mourn the late rapper's death. Phife Dawg co-founded A Tribe Called Quest in 1985 with his classmates from Queens

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A Tribe Called Quest musician Phife Dawg has died at age 45.

News of the rapper's passing emerged on Twitter overnight, and Rolling Stone confirmed his death Wednesday morning.

Born Malik Taylor in 1970 in Queens, New York, he died Tuesday from complications resulting from diabetes, his family said in a statement. "Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend. We love him dearly. 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," the statement read. The family did not disclose any other details. 

Taylor suffered from health issues in recent years, undergoing a kidney transplant in 2008 to deal with his longtime battle with Type 1 diabetes. "It's really a sickness," Taylor said in the band's 2011 documentary, "Beats, Rhymes & Life." "Like straight-up drugs. I'm just addicted to sugar."

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Taylor co-founded A Tribe Called Quest in 1985 with Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, his classmates from Queens. A fourth band member, Jarobi White, left the group after the release of their first album.

The rappers recorded five albums: 1990's "People's Instinctive Travels" and the "Paths of Rhythm," 1991's "The Low End Theory," 1993's "Midnight Marauders," 1996's "Beats, Rhymes and Life" and 1998's "The Love Movement."

Taylor released his only solo album, "Ventilation: Da LP," in 2000. The trio broke up and reunited multiple times following the release of their last album, and they would sporadically reunite for live concerts.

Last November, A Tribe Called Quest reissued their debut album.

The group's performance of "Can I Kick It?" on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" would end up being their last.

As news of Taylor's death spread, fans and friends shared their condolences via social media: [[373212891,C]] 

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