Phife Dawg backstage at The Tonight Show for ATCQ’s Nov. 2015 reunion appearance (photo by Shayan Asgharnia for Okayplayer)
UPDATE: A Tribe Called Quest has release an official statement as well:
Our hearts are heavy. 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 fathers call.
We love his family his mother, his father, his son, his wife, his nieces, his family here in New York, Atlanta, California and Trinidad.
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. 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.
UPDATE: Phife’s Manager Dion Liverpool AKA DJ Rasta Root has shared the following official statement from Malik’s family:
The family of A Tribe Called Quest member, Phife, also known as Malik I. Taylor, has released a statement announcing that he has died, aged 45.
“We regret to share the news that on Tuesday March 22nd, 2016, Malik has passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes.
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.”
Dion Liverpool, his manager adds, “While I mourn the loss of my best friend and brother, I also will celebrate his incredible life and contribution to many people’s ears across the world. Even with all his success, I have never met a person as humble as he. He taught me that maintaining a positive attitude and outlook can conquer anything. Now my brother is resting in greatness. I’m honored to have crossed paths with him. Riddim Kidz 4eva.”
The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.
Damn, really didn’t want to believe this one was true, but the news seems to be confirmed at this point. It’s with heavy hearts that we report that legendary emcee and overall amazing human being Malik Isaac Taylor, also known as Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest has passed away. Phife has transitioned to a better place at the age of only 45 from diabetes.
The sports loving, witty MC had been battling health issues for years. At the age of 20, the lyricist was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, most famously making this known through his “Funky Diabetic” line from “Oh My God.” Phife would later have complications with his kidneys shortly afterwards. In 2000, he was placed on a hemodialysis machine and was hospitalized two years later. Eventually, in 2008, the “Five Foot Assassin” received a kidney transplant from his wife and was regaining his health as the group celebrated its royal place in hip-hop.
Known for his subtle double entendres, helium-high voice and devastatingly clever punchlines, Phife will sorely be missed by all those who love hip-hop and the culture. As a member of one of the most influential groups in modern American music, he shone like a beacon on tracks like “Butter,” which featured his solo vocal performance; “Check The Rhime” and “Scenario,” where he went toe-to-toe with a young lyrical dragon known as Busta Rhymes…
>>>Read More On Phife’s Music + His Impact On Pg. 2