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Guru of Gang Starr Dead at 43

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By BVN Staff –

Guru of famed hip-hop duo Gang Starr has died at the age of 43 following a long battle with cancer.

Born July 17, 1966 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, Keith Elam, also known as Guru, was the famed front man and lead rapper of Gang Starr. Guru founded the musical duo, working alongside DJ Premier for more than 10 years. Gang Starr was founded in 1987 and released six studio albums.

Guru had undergone numerous cancer treatments in the past year before succumbing to his illness on April 19.

Guru took on a solo career, releasing his first album Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 in 1993, followed up by his second album in the series called Jazzmatazz Vol. 2. He continued to collaborate with DJ Premier in the 90's.

The collaboration known as Gang Starr catapulted Guru and DJ Premier to success in the late 80’s and 90’s, garnering a positive reputation for bringing a spotlight to underground hip-hop.

With their combinations of turntable hip-hop music, jazz elements and Guru’s undeniable “monotone” sound, Gang Starr forged a notable, unique etch in the East Coast Hip-Hop music scene. This propelled the group, leading to chart-topping singles such as Mass Appeal, Work and ½ and ½.

According to various reports, Guru wrote a final letter while in a hospital before his death stating "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 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,” the letter also stated.

More of the letter can be read here at AllHipHop.com.

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