Rapper Malik B., co-founding member of The Roots, dead at 47

Rapper Malik B., a co-founding member of The Roots, has died, according to the group’s verified social media accounts. He was 47.

The singer, whose real name was Malik Abdul Basit, was part of the Philadelphia-based musical group from its beginnings until the late 1990s, NPR reported.

Basit’s death was confirmed by The Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter in a statement Wednesday, Rolling Stone reported. No cause of death was given.

“It is with heavy hearts and tearful eyes that we regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit,” the statement reads. “May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam, His loving brotherhood and his innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time.”

The group debuted in 1993 with “Organix,” which was followed by their major-label debut, 1995′s “Do You Want More?!!!??!,” Rolling Stone reported.

Basit also appeared on 1996′s “Illadelph Halflife” the magazine reported. Malik B.‘s last album as a member of The Roots was “Things Fall Apart,” which earned the band a Grammy, NPR reported.

After leaving the group, Basit produced solo material and also appeared on several Roots album tracks, CNN reported.

“We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none,” Black Thought wrote on Instagram. “We (resurrected) a city from the ashes, put it on our backs and called it Illadelph. 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 bitch. 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. 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.”