Rapper, singer and founding member of The Roots, Malik B., has passed away according to a statement from the group. The cause of death has not been made public yet.

The rapper and singer who’s full name is Malik Abdul Basit was a member of the group since its inception until his departure in 1999. He had decided to quit the band due to drug addiction and tensions within the musical act.

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“We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long-time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit. May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family in our time of mourning,” The Roots posted on their Twitter account.

The Roots member Black Thought said in a statement that Malik will forever be fondly remembered.

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“We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none. We [resurrected] a city from the ashes, put it on our backs and called it Illadelph. In friendly competition with you from day one, I always felt as if I possessed only a mere fraction of your true gift and potential,” he posted on Instagram.

Other musicians and music producers also paid tribute to the late MC, with Philadelphia rapper Reef the Lost Cauze tweeting: “Heartbroken to hear of the passing of Malik B, one of the greatest MC’s to ever come from this city. He had his troubles for sure, but dude inspired a whole generation of us to touch the mic. Myself included. May he rest peacefully.”

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