Phife Dawg, founding member of pioneering hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, died Tuesday at the age of 45, according to reports. News of his death came up on Twitter when several of Phife's friends from the hip hop community started tweeting their condolences:
Born Malik Taylor, Phife suffered from diabetes and had battled with ill health in recent years. He underwent a kidney transplant in 2008, following renal failure due to diabetes complications. Giving himself the nickname "the Funky Diabetic" in several Tribe songs, he went on to become a diabetes advocate and shared his story in the 2012 documentary Beats, Rhymes and Life.
Phife will be dearly missed by the hip hop community. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.