Guru Dies After Long Battle With Cancer, Offers Final Letter To Fans & Supporters

GuruAfter a nearly two-month hospitalization, legendary rapper Guru (best known as the frontman for Gangstarr) died Monday morning (April 19), after a long battle with cancer, reports DJPremierBlog.com.

He was just 43 years old.

Solar, Guru’s business partner and sidekick in recent years, told the Yo!Raps (who’s PR company had been coordinating press for Guru since his hospitalization) that the 43-year-old rapper had been suffering from a “malicious illness for over a year and after numerous special treatments under the supervision of medical specialists failed”.

He had tried to keep the cancer diagnosis private, but in early March, news leaked that Guru had been admitted to the hospital, suffered a heart attack, and was recovering from a mystery illness. Previous reports said he suffered from Anoxia, effects from a lengthy history of asthma and lung problems, but these new findings reveal a much worst condition.

“The world has lost one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all-time — my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru,” Solar said in a statement. “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 below) while he was in the hospital for the fans,” the producer continued. “I hope now that Guru has moved on to a better place.”

According to Yo! Raps, Guru penned this letter to fans, explaining his illness while in the hospital with terminal cancer. Read it below in its entirety:

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.

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.

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 (real name: Keith Elam) rose to fame in the 80s as the frontman to the legendary rap duo, Gangstarr, also consisting of DJ Premier. The group released the classic single, “Words I Manifest,” which was followed by their critically acclaimed debut, No More Mr. Nice Guy, in 1989. The group went on to release six official albums through 2003, before they split and went their separate ways.

Guru went on to found 7 Grand Records, partnering with producer Solar, and embarked on a solo career.

Since falling ill, there’s been a lot of controversy over news of his hospitalization. Family members of Guru publicly claimed that Solar had taken over control of the rapper’s decision making and had even barred them from visiting. The only official statements being released from the veteran rapper were relayed through his longtime partner Solar, which raised eyebrows from former Guru collaborators and friends. Solar, however, publicly denied claims of any malicious intentions and was only following the rapper’s instructions.

Unfortunately, Guru never got well enough to clear things up himself.

On Monday (April 19) when Guru passed away, so did a piece of hip-hop. He’ll forever go down in history as one of the best MCs to ever do it. Rest in peace GURU!

95 comments
  1. Death is usually when folks want to end senseless rifts with people. The fact that he methodically wrote this letter to be read @ his time of demise, & specifically shunned Primo speaks volumes. Deep…

    RIP Keithy-E! God bless his family.

  2. Rest in peace gifted unlimited ,may god bless your soul ,this is one of the worst days in the history of hiphop .

  3. Guru did not type this letter!!!!!

    Just smells fake….I bet a pargraphologist (or whatever the tech term is) could pick this apart and clearly tell you that this was not written by someone on their death bed but by someone who has something to gain.

    Odd…at the very least, odd..shady…

  4. I agree!!!!: ”Death is usually when folks want to end senseless rifts with people. The fact that he methodically wrote this letter to be read @ his time of demise, & specifically shunned Primo speaks volumes.”

  5. Most pity thing is that Guru didn’t reunite with Preemo… Whatever they argued for, I think Preemo would like to make a tribute for his old friend… RIP Guru…

  6. It’s a sad day… after the initial hospitalization we got news that he was back to his old-self but sadly this was obviously not the case.

    Rest well big brotha, we shall carry all the teachings and keep the “discipline” going, as well as keeping Hip Hop/Jazz alive!!

    Gadget

  7. If you read between the lines it sounds like he had complications from HIV and Solar was his lover. There’s definitely more to this story.

  8. His jazzmattazz music was ahead of its time. I just hope Keith wanted to clarify himself and was not actually worried about Chris embarrassing him after his death.

    As far as I know their differences were professional ones and they both simply wanted to go in different directions.

    After listening to “No Talent Required” I can understand Keith’s point of view.

  9. Keith shouldn’t be worried about Chris embarrassing him. Especially on his death bed.

    As far as I know, their differences were professional and they both wanted to go in different directions.

    After listening to Primo’s “No Talent Required” album, I can understand why he wanted to distance himself from Chris. And GURU made a song called “Take A Look At Yourself” for Chris.

    His music was ahead of its time

  10. I agree, those are not the words of a dying man. And who tries to keep a cancer diagnosis secret?? I’m thinking quite deeply about Livin Proof’s comment, might be something in that. I’m thinking Eazy E, Freddie Mercury all over again

  11. Yeah, that letter looks fake…regardless, RIP Guru, you were a legend!!!

  12. Moment of truth+Hard to earn is for me what Ready to die or Illmatic is to others!!!Classic Material!Guru Rest in Peace but this Letter is a Joke!

  13. If Guru wrote that then he was in love with Solar. So I don’t think he did. He mentioned his wife KC once and Solar by name about 6 times. wow

  14. The letter doesn’t read right, too much about Solar and how he should be in charge. Makes you wonder.

    Anyway, we lost a great legend of hip hop, rest in peace GURU.

  15. Adieux Monsieur GURU.
    Je vous ai decouvert durant ma jeunesse et vous avez laissé une trace qui a marquée ma vie a tout jamais.
    RIP
    o+

  16. “now hip hop is dead” all is left is gansta pop aka down south crap “wanna be drug kinpen music” rest in peace gure you where big part in my music life i’ll tell my kids you where the one..

  17. Y WOULD GURU STILL HAVE HARD FEELINGS TOWARDS PRIMO EVEN AT HIS DIEING DAYS…DONT MAKE SENSE…IF U KNO UR GONNA DIE STILL HOLD A GRUGE ON PRIMO..HES GOING TO HELL…IM SURE SOLOAR WONT THIS LETTER…DOESNT SOUND LIKE GURU TO STILL HATE ON PRIMO ON HIS LAST DIEING DAYS..JUST DONT MAKE SENSE????

  18. Regardless of the personal riff between Primo and Guru, the music and the group Gangstarr should be celebrated. I’m gonna have my ear real close to “BackSpin” to see what Primo has to say…..if anything. RIP….thanks for getting me through those long bus rides home in high school….

  19. A real shame that a rift was taken (& made even more public) to his death bed. Always remember the true art of Guru & Primo’s great work together…hearing ‘Knowledge’ from the first lp through to great cuts such as Jazz Thing…Mass Appeal…pioneers in their day. Prayers go out to the one with the monotone style!

  20. R.I.P to one of the best artist from the true era of hiphop. This is very sad news . I dont know what to say or think about this ! Guru was one of the only artist i supported on every mixtape i dropped from the 90’s till i left music in 2008. This news realy sucks and i hope both sides of the situation make peace. God bless you Guru. HIPHOP is truly gone. I also think now is a time that people should remember the great memories and put the speculation aside. Peace

  21. letter is mad suspect. very specific and malicious for a dying man…sever references to solar as his ‘partner’. either way – we have lost one of hip hops most important teachers and musicians and also one of my personal musical inspirations.

  22. letter’s a fake. either solar’s a manipulative and shady cat who has personal gain, or a fruit tart, either way, letter’s a fraud. Cause suckers be like playin themselves to have mass appeal.

  23. RIP GURU!

    I having been close to someone who succumbed to cancer, I can with utmost certainty say that Guru, didn’t dictate this letter nor did he write it! Cancer is a very cruel disease. You are constantly in pain, and when you are close to dying, you spend most of your time sleeping. Cancer patients are often very thin and fragile and weak when they are close to death. IDK who this Solar person is, but he needs to quit playing! Hell awaits him, for this made up bullshit!

  24. Don’t think he had anything to do with this letter but he will truely be missed. God Bless him and his family thru this difficult time.

  25. sounds like Solar is a little jealous that he doesn’t shine like primo. not our problem chief. this letter is complete bull. but anyway, its all about gang starr. rip guru. your music has gotten me through some tough times. i thank you for that.

  26. First and foremost, R.I.P. Guru. A true ICON and legend.

    this letter is so suspect, it’s not even funny. it talks more about Solar than it does Guru’s own family. I have seen first hand family members on their death beds, and their farewell letters didn’t look like this. This letter is making Solar look like he’s the legend. It has 2 sentences about his son. Very suspect. I hope someone gets to the bottom of it.

  27. this is all too shady….the truth will come to light so beware…

    hell, 2 of the comments on this section practically read the same so that should tell everyone something…

  28. @livin proof, you and I are on the same page. That’s exactly what it sounds like to me too.

  29. @Livin Proof-

    I insinuated something like that last month, when the story started to blur. Now, it’s in God’s hands, regardless. But, it’s definitely 3 sides to every story. The main side just passed on, so we’ll never know. Probably better that way…

  30. R.I.P. GURU (MY HERO)….
    MAY GOD LAY YOUR SOUL TO REST AND TAKE YOU HOME TO GLORY MY G!
    AND HEART AND PRAYERS GOES OUT TO GURU FAMILY & FRIENDS….
    JUST REMEBER THAT GOD DON’T MAKE NO MISTAKES… GURU IS GONE BUT NEVA FORGOTTEN SO LETS CELEBRATE LIFE OF A SOLDIER ALWAYS ON THE FRONTLINE… SALUTE!

    GANGSTARR 4 EVA!!! PREEMO KEEP YOUR HEAD UP WE PRAYIN FOR YOU MY G!

  31. RIP Guru, the reason of death is not important. I hate he didn’t have a change to make amends with Primo, but that is between he and GOD. Once again RIP Guru

  32. im not even gonna comment on the letter cause i refuse to believe Guru wrote that shit. newayz, RIP to a hip hop legend. youll be missed by the real heads..

  33. I KNOW 4 FACT THAT SOLAR WROTE THIS CRAP GURU,S NEPHEW SET IT OFF ON YOUTUBE ABOUT HOW SOLAR HAD ALL BUT ISOLATED Gs FAM FROM HIM AND ALL BUSSINESS DEALING SHOULD COME VIA HIM.THIS LETTER IS BS

  34. Guru was innovative, talented, educated, a pioneer in the hip hop game that is very much dead. He made good music when music actually mattered, now its convoluted with wackness! Nonetheless, Guru you will def be missed musically and artistically and God Bless your fam.

    EFF the speculation. It don’t really matter anyway.

  35. RIP- all time Hip Hop legend, sick flow, intelligent lyrics, wicked voice- you will go down as one of the best of all time- rest in peace my friend.. G,

  36. I think GURU is a peice of shit. He did not form Ganstarr on his own and if it wasnt for preemo dropping those dope ass beats we would not know him. He hated on the south with his gay lover solar and even in death he’s a hater. So FUCC GURU

  37. On your deathbed is the last place you want to be dreddging up old memories. When you are dying everything eles seems petty, any beef you had no longer matters

    it seems to me and Guru’s family and friends that this guy SOLAR is looking for a payday and some name recognition, knowing that guru would die soon he was afraid that primo would be pushed to the front and he would be in the shadows.

    He will be roasting on the 7th level of hell if this is the case.

  38. AS SALAM ALAIKUM MY BROTHER. U WILL BE MISSED. REST IN ETERNAL PEACE.

  39. @Missbheavin203

    Where else other than Baller Status and Wikipedia and some other media I cant recall right off do they give a good fuck in the world to talk about some Solar???

    Answer me that question!!!

  40. RIP Guru! Hip-Hop will mourn its loss. :(

    Thoughts and prayers are extended to the Ealm family. . .

  41. That brother was definitely dope. No more stress, taxes, nagging, involuntary hatred, playa hating, just peace.

  42. Man, I’m one of them down south boyz, but growing up Guru was like a big bruh…a real dude talking bout sumtin…kept me thinking. This is a sad day for Hip Hop and Muzik in general. I truly hope that the letter is a fake…tell me that it ain’t so!

  43. Two things…

    1) R.I.P. Guru, we’ll miss you.

    2) Fuck Solar, we all know he wrote that letter.

  44. Will be missed…. god bless your soul GURU!!! I will always listen to your wisdom in your music, Rest In Peace!!!

  45. my “loyal best friend, partner”, and brother (LOVER), “Guru” Solar said in a statement.
    *SUSPECT*

    YO, IF THIS SUPPOSED LETTER WRITTEN BY HIM IS TRUE????

    THEN DUDE WAS INDIRECTLY COMIN OUT THA CLOSET!!!!

    SOLAR IS ACTIN SOOOOO G*Y TOO ABOUT THIS WHOLE SITUATION….

    BOTTOMLINE YOU ONLY PUT THIS KIND OF TRUST ABOVE FAMILY & FRIENDS WHEN IS A SIGNIFICANT OTHER!!!!

  46. WTF, in your death letter you hold a grudge with peremier? See ya, never liked your gay ass raps anyway.

  47. i read somewhere and lost the link!!!!
    that solar kept his family from coming to the hospital because he had aids and solar gave it to him
    premier knew about it and kept his distance…..thsats why the family couldnt speak with the personal doctors about it.

    and premier never wanted his comrade to go out like that in public fame that all his supporters would lose their respect for their greatest hero and rapper…a living legend now.

    peace

  48. there was beef with premier and the whole gangstarr foundation fell apart due to money issues that were becoming more important than thew music

    thats why he guru left premier and naturally the whole fam took the bullet

  49. The name Solar appears way too many times in the letter and in the news. Even when mentioning his son, it has more to do with Solar than anything else. It sounds gay.
    A paragraph to get a Premier turns into a Solar love fest. It’s like this guy is the earth and the moon.

  50. That Solar mess is very suspect! Anyway GURU always was on the grind.
    RIP

  51. Enlightened Man – Some of Guru’s songs changed my life at times I needed it most. Only the good die young – I don’t know. His voice lives on – bump it.

  52. rest in peace GURU!U’LL ALWYS LIVE THRU YOUR MUSIC!I respsct the gifted unlimited rhymes universal!!!

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