Gang Starr’s Guru dies at 43

A month after surgery following a heart attack, hip hop legend Guru has died at the age of 43.

“Cancer related causes” are being blamed for Guru’s death, and friend and longtime collaborator Solaar released a statement soon after:

“The world has lost one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all-time — my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru,” Solaar wrote. “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.”

Solaar also released a “farewell letter” from Guru, written while Guru was in the hospital during the past month:

“I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world,” the letter begins. “I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options.

“I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life. I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

“My loyal best friend, partner and brother, Solar, has been at my side through it all and has been made my health proxy by myself on all matters relating to myself. He has been with me by my side on my many hospital stays, operations, doctors visits and stayed with me at my home and cared for me when I could not care for myself. Solar and his family is my family and I love them dearly and I expect my family, friends, and fans to respect that, regardless to anybody’s feelings on the matter. It is my wish that counts. This being said I am survived by the love of my life, my sun KC, who I trust will be looked after by Solar and his family as their own. Any awards or tributes should be accepted, organized approved by Solar on behalf [of] myself and my son until he is of age to except on his own.”

Guru made a point of distancing himself from Premier in the letter:

“I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events, tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this,” wrote Guru. “I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ.

Guru was born Keith Elam in Boston.