Malik B., Founding Member of The Roots, Dead at 47

Malik B. The Roots

The Roots revealed the news on Wednesday.

Rest in peace, Malik B. 

The founding member of The Roots, whose real name was Malik Abdul Basit, has died, the band announced on Twitter on Wednesday. His cause of death was not revealed. 

"We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit," The Roots said. "May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time."

"We ask that you please respect his family in our time of mourning," they added. 

Before his departure from the group in 2002, Malik appeared on four albums -- 1993's Organix, 1995's Do You Want More?!!!??!, 1996's Illadelph Halflife and 1999's Things Fall Apart. After his departure, he continued to make guest appearances on later albums. Malik released one EP, Psychological, on emcee Haak Blast's publishing company, Future Blast Publishing. He also released two studio albums, 2005's Street Assault and 2015's Unpredictable with Mr. Green.

Black Thought paid tribute to Malik on Instagram. 

"We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none. We ressurected a city from the ashes, put it on our backs and called it Illadelph," he wrote. "In friendly competition with you from day one, I always felt as if I possessed only a mere fraction of your true gift and potential. Your steel sharpened my steel as I watched you create cadences from the ether and set them free into the universe to become poetic law, making the English language your b**ch."

"I always wanted to change you, to somehow sophisticate your outlook and make you see that there were far more options than the streets, only to realize that you and the streets were one... and there was no way to separate a man from his true self," he continued. "My beloved brother M-illitant. I can only hope to have made you as proud as you made me. The world just lost a real one. May Allah pardon you, forgive your sins and grant you the highest level of paradise. #MalikB #TheLegendaryRootsCrew." 

See more on stars we've recently lost in the video below.