Guru of Gang Starr dead at 48

Guru-Gang-StarrImage Credit: Cary Hammond/Getty ImagesRapper Guru is dead at age 48 after a long battle with cancer. The New York-based hip-hop legend, born Keith Elam, had a heart attack March 2 and subsequently fell into a coma. After seemingly recovering from that hit, Guru lost his battle with a cancer-related disease on April 19. His death was announced on the DJ Premier Blog, a site dedicated to DJ Premier, Guru’s partner in the group Gang Starr.

Gang Starr released six albums between 1989 and 2003, including the critically acclaimed 1998 album Moment of Truth. As a solo artist, Guru pioneered the idea of fusing jazz and hip-hop, creating his series of Jazzmatazz records that featured collaborations with Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, and Erykah Badu, among many others.

Born on July 17, 1961, the Massachusetts native burst onto hip-hop’s underground scene in the late 1980s. His rhymes were equal parts aggressive, uplifting, and witty.

Guru’s manager, Solar, released a statement confirming his artist’s death.

“The world has lost one of the best MCs and Hip-Hop icons of all-time — my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru,” he said. “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.”

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Comments (106 total) Add your comment
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  • harry

    R.I.P. Guru we will miss you!!!

    • dont rip

      hes a nother micheal jackson

      • Reena

        umm it says he died of cancer related issues not from taking too much propofal…please leave your nasty comments somewhere else this is a place where us TRUE fans can say some kind words for a MAN we all respected and will truly miss

      • najee

        dont rip? he’s another micheal jackson? Wow!!! Y u gotta dis the GURU like that???

      • karen

        I think Don’t Rip was saying he was another musical genious…I don’t think he was making a negative comment, he was just comparing Guru’s music to Michael Jackson….both were pioneer’s. I hope that’s what he was saying. RIP Guru, just like Michael Jackson you were both gone too soon. You will be missed!!

      • hubbs

        Guru was a genius n will always b a hiphop icon.he did his own thng n followed no1s footsteps.thats one thng i luvd bout gangstar.i grew up listening to gangstar n was saddened yet shocked by his big guru….ul b missed til we all come home.luv

  • My Opinion Only

    RIP Guru. One of the greats in hiphop.

    • Owl


      you are an idiot and waaay off base. this guy was one of the few Hip Hop/jazz artists who stayed positive throughout his career and never delved into the crap that passes for music these days. if you don’t know anything about a subject, you should shut your ignorant pie hole.

  • Rob

    R.I.P. Guru. Too soon…

    “Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is/ I get more props and stunts than Bruce Willis” – Guru, “Dwyck”

  • Ramo

    So sad. He was such a talented MC. Between his strength on the mic and DJ Premier’s legendary skills, Gang Starr made some truly great hip hop music. His Jazzamtazz albums are similarly excellent. What a bummer.


    thx 4 the great music brother including raw hip-hop and jazzmatazz

  • April

    So sad to hear this…

  • Phil

    Listening to Guru & Vivian Green’s cover of “Fine and Free” from his last Jazzmatazz album…R.I.P. Guru.

  • Khalil Thomas

    I was raised like a Muslim….Praying to the East……RIP….1love1life1king…..

  • AKA Showtime

    Is this the guy that Jay also said..”Unleash the flutes on em Guru”?…RIP

    • NYRich

      no. that was Jay’s engineer. no relation.

    • JR

      What the hell kind of question Is that? R u white?

      • Media Man

        Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, JR!

  • Khalil Thomas

    Peace….I was raised like a Muslim….Praying to the East……RIP….1love1life1king…..

  • dave

    R.I.P. Guru

  • won t

    r.i.p. we lost another legend this morning!

  • shahab bahmnai

    r.i.p. guru thanks for all the great music, u will surely be missed…. and never forgotten…

  • Linley G

    GURU truly touced my life in ryhmes and music!You will be missed RIP GURU!

  • nola darling

    I got discipline baby and I use it a lot, whether u do or not- guru and total. R.I.P. u will b missed

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