Rest in Peace to the Rapper Guru: He finally succumbs to cancer at age 43 (July 17, 1966 – April 19, 2010)
April 20, 2010
Rapper Guru dies from cancer at age 43
Tuesday, April 20, 2010; 2:36 PM
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York-based rapper Guru, of hip hop duo Gang Starr and who had success as a solo artist combining hip hop and jazz in the 1990s, has died after a secret battle with cancer, his promoter Kai Denninger said on Tuesday. He was 43.
Guru, whose real name was Keith Elam, died on Monday, Denniger, of Yo promotions, said via telephone from Germany. He said Guru gave a letter to his friend and New York-based producer Solar to issue to fans.
“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,” the rapper, who released a series of four “Jazzmatazz” albums in the 1990s, said in a statement posted on yo-pr.com.
It was not clear what form of cancer Guru had.
The Boston-born rapper also referenced a long-time feud with DJ Premier, who once made up the half Gang Starr, which released six albums between 1989 and 2003.
“I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events tributes etc,” he said. “I am very proud of what GangStarr has meant to the music world and fans. I equally am proud of my Jazzmatazz series and as the father of Hip-Hop/Jazz.”
I am going to just pretend that the last paragraph wasn’t written. The cancer must have gotten to him. Whatever relationship that you have with DJ Solar, he got you twisted. We heard about the inability of your family to see you the first time during the coma. But, your music will live on, and the smooth melodic voice, with Primo’s beats can train the younger group.
Here is the letter in its entirety
I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world. 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 myself and my son until he is of age to except on his own.
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. 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. As the sole founder of GangStarr, I am very proud of what GangStarr has meant to the music world and fans. I equally am proud of my Jazzmatazz series and as the father of Hip-Hop/Jazz. I am most proud of my leadership and pioneering efforts on Jazzmatazz 4 for reinvigorating the Hip-Hop/Jazz genre in a time when music quality has reached an all time low. Solar and I have toured in places that I have never been before with GangStarr or Jazzmatatazz and we gained a reputation for being the best on the planet at Hip-Hop/Jazz, as well as the biggest and most influential Hip-Hop/Jazz record with Jazzmatazz 4 of the decade to now. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time. And we as a team were not afraid to push the envelope. To me this is what true artists do! As men of honor we stood tall in the face of small mindedness, greed, and ignorance. As we fought for music and integrity at the cost of not earning millions and for this I will always be happy and proud, and would like to thank the million fans who have seen us perform over the years from all over the world. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time and is my most creative and experimental to date. I hope that our music will receive the attention it deserves as it is some of the best work I have done and represents some of the best years of my life.
That just sounds like it was written by Solar himself and had Guru sign it at the last minute. DJ Solar was/is, never will be as good as Primo. I liked Jazzmatazz, but your work with Primo was the best. If you were still with us, I would let you know this. DJ Solar is okay, but to show you the level of respect, he doesn’t even have a Wiki page but if you go to Premier, his page is in tact and detailed.
But, in the end, Guru, we will miss you.