Veteran rap group A Tribe Called Quest has issued an official statement on the shocking passing of founder Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor this week.

Despite hip-hop’s emotional reaction to Phife’s passing, ATCQ assured fans the late hip-hop pioneer did not suffer when he died.

“Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed. The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy… until he heeded his fathers call.

We love his family his mother, his father, his son, his wife, his nieces, his family here in New York, Atlanta, California and Trinidad.

Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJ’s, social media and the music community at large. This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him. His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you. We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy. We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother.” (Statement)

Check out what Kendrick Lamar said about the passing on the next page…

This week, rap star Kendrick Lamar paid homage to Phife during an Australia concert.

As the packed arena’s audience held their phones aloft, Lamar said, “Today, we lost one of the pioneers in hip-hop, by the name of Phife Dawg. Right now, ain’t nobody cheering about me. We’re gonna give it up for him, for allowing me to do what I’m doing on this stage right here, right now, today.” Then, he led the massive crowd in a call-and-response “Phife Dawg” chant, before concluding that “Forever hip-hop, we gonna be alright.” (Billboard)

Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller also showed his respect to Phife with a tribute mix.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/254404912″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Buzz about Phife’s untimely passing surfaced online Wednesday (March 23) morning.

Rolling Stone has confirmed the rapper’s death, though an official statement has yet to be released. While the cause of death has yet to be announced, Taylor had had health issues for years, undergoing a kidney transplant in 2008 to deal with a longtime battle with Type 1 diabetes. (Rolling Stone)