After a nearly two-month hospitalization, legendary rapper Guru (best known as the frontman for Gangstarr) died Monday morning (April 19), after a long battle with cancer, reports DJPremierBlog.com. He was just 43 years old.
Solar, Guru’s business partner and sidekick in recent years, told the Yo!Raps (who’s PR company had been coordinating press for Guru since his hospitalization) that the 43-year-old rapper had been suffering from a “malicious illness for over a year and after numerous special treatments under the supervision of medical specialists failed”.
He had tried to keep the cancer diagnosis private, but in early March, news leaked that Guru had been admitted to the hospital, suffered a heart attack, and was recovering from a mystery illness. Previous reports said hesuffered from Anoxia, effects from a lengthy history of asthma and lung problems, but these new findings reveal a much worst condition.
“The world has lost one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all-time — my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru,” Solar said in a statement. “Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but tragically, this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius.
“For the fans that reached out with love and support, I can’t tell you how much that meant to Guru and myself. Guru prepared this letter (read below) while he was in the hospital for the fans,” the producer continued. “I hope now that Guru has moved on to a better place.”
Guru (real name: Keith Elam) rose to fame in the 80s as the frontman to the legendary rap duo, Gangstarr, also consisting of DJ Premier. The group released the classic single, “Words I Manifest,” which was followed by their critically acclaimed debut, No More Mr. Nice Guy, in 1989. The group went on to release six official albums through 2003, before they split and went their separate ways.
Guru went on to found 7 Grand Records, partnering with producer Solar, and embarked on a solo career.
Since falling ill, there’s been a lot of controversy over news of his hospitalization. Family members of Guru publicly claimed that Solar had taken over control of the rapper’s decision making and had even barred them from visiting. The only official statements being released from the veteran rapper were relayed through his longtime partner Solar, which raised eyebrows from former Guru collaborators and friends. Solar, however, publicly denied claimsof any malicious intentions and was only following the rapper’s instructions.
Unfortunately, Guru never got well enough to clear things up himself.
On Monday (April 19) when Guru passed away, so did a piece of hip-hop. He’ll forever go down in history as one of the best MCs to ever do it. Rest in peace GURU!