Malik Taylor, better known as A Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg, died Wednesday at the age of 45, Rolling Stone reported.
An official statement has yet to be released. %
Taylor's cause of death is unclear, but the New York native had health issues in the past. He underwent a kidney transplant in 2008 during a longstanding battle with diabetes.
"It's really a sickness," Taylor said in a 2011 documentary. "Like straight-up drugs. I'm just addicted to sugar."
He also rapped about his condition in his music.
"Mr. energetic, who me sound pathetic, when's the last time you heard a funky diabetic?" he rhymed on the 1994 hit "Oh My God" featuring Busta Rhymes.
The rapper’s death has made a ripple effect throughout the industry.
“(A) Tribe Called Quest was one of the greatest groups of all times. You really have to give him respect for that,” said Atlanta radio host Art Terrell.
Taylor called Atlanta home for more than a decade and became part of the community here.
“Of course he was going through the issues with diabetes and his kidneys. He went through all of those issues in Atlanta, so Atlanta was kind of like a second home to Phife Dawg,” Terrell said.
Channel 2's Mark Arum paid tribute to Phife Dawg Wednesday morning in his traffic report. It quickly became a viral sensation - shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and written about in sites like Buzzfeed.
Mark Arum loves to slip cultural references into his traffic reports. Here are some others.
Thursday morning, Arum spoke with Channel 2's Fred Blankenship about the tribute and how he came up with the idea.
He's not the first Channel 2 anchor to pay tribute to a famous entertainer after their death. Back in 2014, Channel 2's Zach Klein used his sportscast to honor the late Robin Williams.
Listen to more from A Tribe Called Quest on this Spotify list:
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