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Guru, half of hip-hop's GangStarr, dead at 43 as family drama brews

April 20, 2010 | 10:20 am

Gangstarr Hip-hop artist MC Guru, who rose to fame as half of the duo GangStarr, died Monday at 43 of cancer-related complications, MTV reports.

Guru had undergone surgery after a heart attack about month ago, but had been fighting cancer for a year, according to his associate Solar, with whom he'd started the label 7 Grand Records.

The death of Guru -- real name Keith Elam -- comes amid a family drama that has brewed since the MC went into a New York hospital Feb. 2. Nephew Justin Nicholas-Elam Ruff issued a video in early March on behalf of the hip-hop star's family, alleging Solar had cut off information and access. In a farewell letter written in the hospital, Guru distanced himself from his GangStarr collaborator DJ Premier and left his legacy in the hands of Solar.

MC Guru rose to fame in the late 1980s working with Premier, aka Christopher Martin. It was revealed recently that the two hadn't spoken in seven years. 

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Guru, left, and DJ Premier in a GangStarr promotional photo from the late 1990s. Credit: Daniel Hastings / Lab.

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