NPR logo Guru, Of Gang Starr And Jazzmatazz, Dies At 43

Guru, Of Gang Starr And Jazzmatazz, Dies At 43

It's been only six weeks since we reported that ailing rapper Guru was recovering well from surgery to revive him from a heart-attack-induced coma. But now, MTV is reporting that Guru, born Keith Edward Elam, died Monday. A statement from his collaborator and partner, Solar, links Guru's death to a long battle with cancer.

"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. "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."

Though Guru was well-known for his work in Gang Starr, he'd been distancing himself from DJ Premier as of late, saying multiple times that he did not want to be associated solely with his ex-DJ. Guru was also known for his innovative solo work and collaboration with producer Solar under the name Jazzmatazz. The albums were the first of a kind, combining live jazz with hip-hop production. Guru leaves behind a legacy that spans more than two decades.