Phife Dawg, of the legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, died Wednesday of unknown causes. He was 45.
The rapper, whose government name was Malik Taylor, described his lifelong struggle with diabetes mellitus, aka sugar diabetes, in a documentary on the group.
It's really a sickness," Taylor told Michael Rapaport in a 2011 documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life.
He added: "Like straight-up drugs. I'm just addicted to sugar."
Taylor is one of the co-founders of A Tribe Called Quest, along with the group's lead lyricist Q-Tip.
Taylor stood out on the group's albums, particularly 1991's The Low End Theory and 1993's Midnight Marauders.
But his health problems cut his solo career short after the group disbanded in 1999.
He recorded his only solo album, Ventilation: Da LP, in 2000.
Taylor was upbeat about his future in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine last November:
"I am in a good spot, but I have my good days and I have my bad days," he said at the time. "But I'm more or less in a good spot, so I can't really complain." In the same interview, Taylor revealed plans to release the J Dilla-produced "Nutshell," the first single off a planned EP titled Give Thanks. The rapper released a video preview of the song, though a full version has yet to be released. Prior to his death, Taylor had also been at work on Muttymorphosis, his new LP that would have functioned as "basically my life story" that he hoped to have released later this year.
Thanks to loyal reader Str8tUpMenace for the tip.