On Wednesday, March 24, 2015, Malik Isaac Taylor, the legendary rapper known as Phife Dawg, Phife Diggy or simply Phife, of A Tribe Called Quest, died at the young age of 45. His cause of death has been confirmed as complications from his Type 1 Diabetes.
Phife was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in May of 1990, just as his career was taking off. He was experiencing constant thirst and frequent bathroom visits, which led his grandmother, a registered nurse, tested him for diabetes. Initially, Phife did not take the diagnosis seriously, and maintained his same lifestyle, Keeping it hidden from his friends, family, as well as from his group, A Tribe Called Quest. Maintaining his same lifestyle eventually caused him to be hospitalized right before a television appearance in New York City. At the time of his admittance, his blood sugar level was in the thousands. Keep in mind, very high blood sugar levels are usually in the low hundreds.
Phife was initially resistant to treatment and eventually had to go on dialysis treatments. Shortly after he came to grips with his illness Phife welcomed the opportunity to help others to learn from his mistakes, during interviews. Phife had been battling his health conditions for many years, even undergoing a kidney transplant in 2008, donated by his amazing wife.
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST: In The Beginning
In 1985, MC Phife Diggy, along with his high school friends, MC Q-Tip, Producer Jarobi White, and DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, changed the face and feel of hip-hop music, through their acclaim and Grammy-nominated group, A Tribe Called Quest. Their first album, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, was released in 1990. The group has been honored at both the Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Awards and the 4th VH1 Hip-Hop Honors. A Tribe Called Quest broke up in 1998, but has reunited several times.
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST: Celebrating 25 Year Anniversary
His solo album, Ventiliation: Da LP was also released in 2000 and A Tribe Called Quest recorded and released their reunion album in 2003. Reportedly, Phife did have plans to release a new solo album in 2016, Muttymorphosis.