Malik Taylor had been having diabetes-related health problems for some time
Malik Taylor, better known as Phife Dawg, has died aged just 45. The A Tribe Called Quest rapper had been having health problems related to his diabetes for several years.
Taylor was born in Jamaica, Queens, NYC in November 1970, and formed A Tribe Called Quest with schoolfriends Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad in 1985. The group released five studio albums between 1990 and 1998 and, alongside Jungle Brothers and De La Soul, formed part of the Native Tongues posse which helped to establish the blueprint for alternative/underground hip-hop in the early 90s. Their biggest UK hit was Can I Kick It?, which reached No 15 in 1991.
Taylor released a solo album entitled Ventilation: Da LP in 2000, and made guest appearances on releases by Diamond D and Fu-Schnickens, but his diabetes prevented him from doing a huge amount of recording, and in 2008 he had to undergo a liver transplant. He was working on a new album, Muttymorphosis, shortly before he died.
In a statement to the press, the rapper's family said: "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."