Diabetes Claims The Life Of Rapper Phife Dawg

Complications from diabetes has claimed the life of A Tribe Called quest rapper Phife Dawg, who passed away at the age of 45 yesterday.

Phife Dawg, real name Malik Isaac Taylor, and also called the “Five Foot Assassin”, was a founding member of the Tribe, which he put together with rapper Q-Tip in 1985. As a group, A Tribe Called Quest recorded nearly half a dozen albums and completed several tours.

Phife would also enjoy success as a solo artist, and his influence has been cited by artists ranging from Jill Scott to The Roots to Common and even Kanye West.

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Phife was reportedly diagnosed with diabetes in 1990. He made his diagnosis part of one of his songs (“Oh My God”) in which he referred to himself as a “funky diabetic”.

Phife made headlines in 2008 when he received a kidney transplant from his wife. The procedure was ultimately unsuccessful and Phife was in need of a transplant once again by 2012.

Phife was known for his self-deprecating humor and had no issue with discussing the challenges of living life as a diabetic while also craving excess sweets.

In a documentary about the Tribe, called Beats, Rhymes & Life, Phife had this to say about his need for goodies:

“Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar.”

R.I.P. Phife Dawg  (November 20, 1970 – March 22, 2016)