Malik B, rapper and founding member of The Roots, has died. He was 47.
The group announced the death of the Philadelphia-born emcee on social media after Wednesday. The cause of death has not been released.
Malik B, whose real name is Malik Abdul Basit, was a major contributor to the group, which includes Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Thought Black” Trotter. He appeared on four albums before leaving the group in 1999. The group won its first Grammy the following year.
The Roots, who also leads as the house band on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show,” hailed Malik B for his talents and rap.
“I am sorry to inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and the long time of Root member Malik Abdul Basit,” the group said on Twitter. “May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam and innovation as one of the most talented MCs of all time. We pray that he will please respect his family in times of mourning.”
Malik B returned as a guest featured on the group’s 2006 album “Game Theory” and “Rising Down” in 2008. As a solo artist, he has released two studio albums called “Street Assault” and “Unpredictable.”