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A Tribe Called Quest shattered by Phife Dawg's death

Published 24/03/2016

A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest

Late Phife Dawg's A Tribe Called Quest bandmates have spoken out for the first time since the rap icon passed away.

A Tribe Called Quest members are "devastated" following the death of their bandmate Phife Dawg.

The rapper, real name Malik Taylor, passed away at the age of 45 on Tuesday (22Mar16) from complications related to diabetes and after his family confirmed the news on Wednesday (23Mar16), many fans paid their respects to the hip-hop icon on social media.

Phife's surviving music partners, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White, also joined in on the tributes - speaking out for the first time since they lost their brother.

"Our hearts are heavy," the statement reads, according to Entertainment Weekly. "We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for, although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed. The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy… until he heeded his father's call.

"Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJ’s, social media and the music community at large. This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him. His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure."

The statement concluded, "He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you. We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy. We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother."

Phife, who had battled ill health in recent years and underwent a kidney transplant in 2008, was also honoured by stars such as The Roots' drummer Questlove, Macklemore, Kerry Washington, Chris Rock, Daddy Yankee, Snoop Dogg, and Chuck D.

Kendrick Lamar remembered the rap legend by dedicating his show in Sydney, Australia to Phife. And during the concert, he asked audience members to hold up their cell phones and light up the atmosphere in tribute to the late musician.

"Today, we lost one of the pioneers in hip-hop, by the name of Phife Dawg," Kendrick told the crowd. "Right now, ain't nobody cheering about me (sic). We're gonna give it up for him, for allowing me to do what I'm doing on this stage right here, right now, today."

He then led fans in a chant of "Phife Dawg", before adding, "Forever hip-hop, we gonna be alright (sic)."

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