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Guru has passed away yesterday morning (April 19) after a long battle with cancer.
According to Solar, Guru suffered from the malicious illness for over a year and after numerous special treatments under the supervision of
medical specialists failed, the legendary MC succumbed to the disease.
Guru always tried to keep this harrowing diagnosis in private but in
early 2010 he had to admit himself to hospital due to serious effects
caused by the disease.
Since the onset of illness, Guru tried to live a “normal” life as an influential and outstanding musician, loving father, family man, and
best friend. Doctors encouraged Guru to think positive that the cancer
can be arrested and that a full recovery is possible but several special
treatments including hard hitting chemotherapies failed.
While in hospital with terminal cancer, Guru wrote a letter, which was provided by Solar, to his fans addressing his illness, his shining
music career, his family and loved ones.
“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,” read the
official Guru statement.
“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.”
The statement reads on, “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.”
Guru, born Keith Elam, rose to fame in the 80’s as the founder of the legendary rap group GangStarr. The group released the classic single
Words I Manifest followed by their critically acclaimed debut album No
More Mr. Nice Guy (1989) and the classic album Step In The Arena (1991).
Guru was the first artist to truly blend Hip-Hop with Live Jazz
beginning in 1993, and seeing the vast influences his Jazzmatazz concept
has had on the industry, it is clear that Guru’s musical contributions
have been way ahead of their time. Guru has worked with such great
artists as Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, Donald Byrd, Ramsey Lewis, Roy
Ayers, Chaka Kahn, Branford Marsalis, David Sanborn, Bob James, Erykah
Badu, The Roots, Common, Angie Stone, Jamiroquai, Macy Gray and Damien
Marley, to name a few. Despite the fact that Guru isn’t hailing from New
York, he is noted as a pioneer of the New York sound and true lyrical
Hip-Hop. Guru later on joined forces with hit producer Solar and formed
his label 7 Grand Records with the goal to keep “real” Hip-Hop alive.
Guru’s longtime partner, Solar, issues an official statement about the lost of the legendary MC which you can read below:
“The world has lost one of the best MCs and Hip-Hop icons of all time — my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru! Guru has been
battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a
matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it but tragically
this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great
man and a true genius. For the fans that reached out with love and
support, I can’t tell you how much that meant to Guru and myself. Guru
prepared this letter [read above] while he was in the hospital for the
fans. I hope now that Guru has moved on to a better place! Guru is a
great Black American Hero and should always be remembered as such and he
is much more that just a Hip-Hop icon — he has changed the world for
the better. I salute my fallen brother Guru! He will be missed
tremendously!” Solar stated.
We will sorely miss Guru, both from a personal and from a professional standpoint. Our warmest condolences to Guru’s family and
loved ones at this difficult time.