Rapper Malik B., a longtime member of the Roots, has died, his family and the hip-hop group announced Wednesday. He was 47.
Born in Philadelphia, Malik B., whose full name was Malik Abdul Basit, joined the Roots in 1987 and appeared on the group's first four albums. Formed and led by Questlove and Black Thought, the Roots currently serve as the house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
"It is with heavy hearts and tearful eyes that we regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit," the Roots said in posts on Instagram and Twitter. "May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam, His loving brotherhood and his innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time."
No cause of death was given.
After leaving the group in 1999, Basit later made appearances on tracks on the Roots' albums Game Theory and Rising Down. He also collaborated with DJ and producer Mr. Green.
His cousin Don Champion described him as someone who was "so talented" and "had a huge heart."
"I still remember when he and The Roots were starting out," Champion tweeted. "He'd give me and my dad their cassette tapes to listen to. I miss you already, Mailk. #RIP."
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