Keith Elam, who was better known as the rapper Guru, died yesterday (Apr. 19th) following a long battle with cancer. He was 43.
According to the rapper’s producer and spokesman 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.”
The New York born MC had suffered cardiac arrest on March 2nd and was in a coma for several weeks. It was revealed that he had Anoxia, a condition which affects both breathing and oxygen levels for organ tissues.
While in the hospital, Guru wrote a letter, which was released by Solar, to his fans addressing his illness, his music career, and his life (via Yo! Raps). Update: We should note that it has yet to be confirmed whether Guru actually wrote the aforementioned letter.
The statement read: “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.”
Guru was perhaps best known for his collaboration with DJ Premier in the hip-hop group Gang Starr. The duo released six studio albums between 1989 and 2003. In recent years, Guru had released a series of Jazzmataz albums where he teamed up with classic jazz, soul, and hip hop artists.
In his letter, Guru went on to state his wishes that the Gang Starr legacy end upon his death. “I do not wish my [DJ Premier] 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,” he said.