April 21st, 2010
11:20 AM ET

Guru's family releases a statement

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The family of rapper Guru, born Keith Elam, has released a statement regarding his death on Monday at the age of 43.

The statement is as follows:

“The Elam family wishes to thank the fans of our son/brother/father uncle/nephew/cousin Keith aka Guru for the outpouring of love, concern and support.  Our hearts are broken by the loss of someone we loved so much.  Guru was devoted to his young son, who will most keenly feel his absence.”

“Guru suffered from multiple myeloma for over a year.  Accrued complications from this illness led to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.  As a result, Guru was in a coma from mid February until his death and never regained consciousness."

"Early on the morning of April 19, he became hypertensive due to low blood pressure. He again went into cardiac arrest and slipped away from us.”

“Guru died far too young but he was, and we are, proud of all his many legendary musical contributions.”

“The family is not aware of any foundations established by Guru.  We know and understand that countless fans want to express their condolences and love and, to that end, we are planning a memorial event in the near future that will be all-inclusive. Please look for further details from the family as they become available.”

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. StewartinMaine

    Gang Starr.... one of the best yet. R.I.P.

    June 21, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Live in the TO

    Guru made hip hop for me, I was just made aware of this and was listening to Daily Operation on the drive ......The best ever

    April 23, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. sulenyc

    This was a well-fabricated but poorly executed scheme for Solar to become the bona fide gate keeper of all activities related to GURU after his death. All previous accounts that GURU emerged from his coma were patently false but necessary in order for Solar to release the letter that he attributed to GURU. This also illuminates Solar's motive for keeping GURU's family at a distance in his final days–trying to take control of a legacy that is clearly not his own. GURU's legacy belongs to the Elam Family and fans of true HIP HOP world wide! There's nothing that Solar could ever do to change that!

    April 22, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aaron Silver

    I would urge everyone out there to do your history on this man. Listen to his music and understand his message. He was different; a positive and strong man and it reflected in his music. He was Guru; gone but never forgotten..

    April 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. friend


    April 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Liana

    Keith Elam was a master wordsmith and a highly educated and charismatic human being who told me countless times how proud he was to be a member of his family. A letter from Keith of this nature, i believe, would have been much been much better written and exhibited Keith's true lyrical style which was brilliant!

    April 22, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. darkside

    gifted.unlimited.rhymes.universal-r.i.p your words will never be forgotten. what's here today may be gone tomorrow.peace and blessings to guru's family.

    April 22, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sarah

    Gangstarr, one of the best yet.

    April 22, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. bDu

    "He fired, she fired all at the same time...now there's a funeral Wednesday at a quarter to nine."

    Guru you were ahead of your time, you will be missed.

    April 22, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dalton

    Guru was someone who knew that for hip hop to grow and expand it would have to experiment. He wasn't the first to fuse hip hop and jazz but his Jazzmatazz CD's helped show the world that hip hop was more than guns, drugs, violence and hyperactive libido.

    I hope the new generation of would be rappers takes time to study Guru's career and his willingness to take risk with the music

    April 22, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. soto capo

    i am a true hip hop junkie and i remember when Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal was just a youngster back in the day with up and comin DJ Premo kickin it with his song Manifest or Love Sick, Just to Get A Rep, Mass Appeal, etc. i have numerous albums of him and his group Gangstarr. GURU helped other emcees get turned on like Group Home and Jeru The Damaja. He is also one of the very few emcees that used jazz music as his beat and he ripped it. He had a few cuts on his Jazzmatazz albums that were hot! to date no one has done anything like that. He was a pure mic controller and we all need to pay homage to one of the greatest emcees that ever gripped the mic apparatus.

    April 22, 2010 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. danny

    MAN, i missed the player man. i heart bleeds for his family. RIP GURU

    April 22, 2010 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. givvy

    He's no Will Smith.

    April 22, 2010 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. alan marini

    this is a sad day in history Guru was the voice of our time .this is a sad day in our history!!!!! Rest in piece my brother , we might not be the same color but one day we will one day look down on humanity and both say we did our best . Your words will forever forever live in our hearts .I too am a traveler and one day I will be gone R.I.P.

    April 22, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. Vendetta

    "Its mostly the voice that gets you up, its mostly the voice that gets you buck, some mcs got flavor & some got skills but if the voice ain't dope the you need to...CHILL!"

    One love ~GURU~

    April 22, 2010 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  16. Aitch CS

    wow, I've never heard of him prior to reading this. Sad. RIP.

    April 21, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Sammee

    Man, He is SO ill. I have his New-est album. His voice is SICK! Ill miss him dearly... Forever the ill-est, One Love.

    April 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  18. S.Sellers

    "If you don't got the voice don't do it" R.I.P. GURU
    HIP HOP FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  19. django

    Guru was one of the few MCs that had a social conscience. His impact went far beyond the dance floor, thru Guru Hip Hop found Jazz and the two have never been the same since...
    Big Up Guru...Icon, game changer and conscious warrior...

    April 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  20. John N

    Very sad to hear of the passing of Keith. I was a school friend of his while at Noble and Greenough . I remember him as being a very special person. I was surprised to discover that he had become such a big star. I just listened to some of his music and am very impressed . It is very sad that such a talented individual is gone but we can be comforted in knowing that his music will live on in the hearts and minds of his devoted fans.

    RIP Keith

    April 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Bumpy

    "Lemonade was a popular drink... and it still is"


    one of the most thought provoking rappers ever..

    just to get a rep, who's gonna take the weight, code of the street etc. etc.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  22. sadiq Moore

    truly missed in NIGERIA GOOD NIGHT GURU

    April 21, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  23. sadiq Moore

    we all lost a truly rear gem .one love to one of hip hops finest

    April 21, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  24. CATom

    I didnt know ice tea died.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Michelle

    Just a thought....there are several foundations for multiple myeloma.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Crooklyn Dodger42

    "Oh yes I'm greater than all MC's when I breeeze give me room please
    I be like fascinatin when I be updatin
    Cuttin off wack kids, pullin their trump cards
    I thump hard, and make em say that I'm God"^


    Boston cat that was so Brooklyn, NY loves you Guru.


    April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  27. mln

    How does one become hypertensive due to low blood pressure??

    April 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  28. pkintx

    I was at Prairie View A&M University and remember his visits from years ago and will miss him.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  29. V-Dub

    If you were scheming on a chance to put a stain on my name, don't even think about it, cuz there ain't no shame in my game! RIP GURU!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Chuck, Washington, DC

    Guru, a true MC...RIP

    April 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Big E

    One of the greatest of all time! RIP Guru

    April 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  32. tom

    Jazzmatazz added a new flavor to my life – Jazz AND Hip Hop. Thank you for doing that. RIP

    April 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  33. ScrapSupply


    April 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  34. ted

    Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal you will be missed homie. Gangstarr and Jazzmatazz all day in memorial!

    April 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  35. richard

    Guru was a truly great exponent of smooth, intelligent and thought provoking Hip Hop. His contributions to Black Music will long be felt.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  36. BrotherJohn of Dallas

    Guru, may you rest in peace and may you family be blessed. I have fond memories of your songs and rhymin' styles and vocal delivery from back in the day!

    April 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Maurice

    Guru died with multiple myeloma. This is odd since it is generally seen in older people. Man...

    April 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Aaron

    for those doubting the letter from Guru or the foundation he was part of. there are fairly recent photo's of Guru at an event for the foundation and the name of the foundation/logo are displayed on the wall behind them. it seems pretty legit to me.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Mutt

    From the worst comes the best
    From the lowest comes the highest


    April 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Scottie

    I knew him when, before the lights, before the glam , before the bling and the fame. Keith was a true spirit. True to the game and always true to himself. He was always right on point with his lyrics and social comentary. My prayers go out to his family he will be missed but never forgotten.

    Chris Scott

    April 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Gerrick Williams

    A member of one of the greatet duos ever to do it in hip-hop. His abscence will truly be missed and leave a void in our hearts. He was a lyrical genius who packed a message in his songs as well as great creativity. I hope that a letter will not keep Premiere from putting out a tribute to one of the best that ever did it!

    April 21, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  42. just to get a rep son

    " Lets squeeze the juice out, of all those suckas with power,
    and poor some back out, for us to water the flowers

    April 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Teshawn

    You will be truly missed. As a 31 year old female growing up to what now we call old school hip hop, was the best thing we had back then. The creativity, the beats, and the lyrics can not be duplicated as well as your geniusness as an artist. These kids these days will not have nor know what we had back then; musically nor lyrics wise.

    I am really devastated. Much respect and love to you brother. My prayers are with your family, especially your son.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Ruthie

    He will truly be missed..

    April 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  45. ImJusSayinn

    One of the greats, a true lyrical genius. Other rappers should be paying homage...you will live on thru your music. *R.i.P*

    April 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Keith G.

    R.I.P. Keith Elam AKA Bald Headed Slick AKA Guru.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Kerrie

    RIP GURU.......you will be missed!

    April 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Brooke

    D. Tree,
    Maybe there's no coverage on this because most people have no idea who he is? I thought like... an actual Guru had passed or something... >.> lol I'm pretty news and celebrity savvy too.

    I was thinking to myself when I saw the headline "Dear God... did Richard Simmons die or something?". Still, its a tradegy when anyone passes, I can tell from the other comments he will be missed. I offer my condolences to everyone who loved him.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  49. mtw26


    April 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Rob Hughes (Camden NJ)

    An wonderful soul at rest... ONE Love Brother... One Love!

    April 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  51. TRACY J

    I was deeply saddened by the loss of GURU, he was truly legendary and surely will be missed. RIP GURU. May the Lord comfort the hearts of his loved ones.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Dapo

    Guru..formerly gangstar..eloquent, smooth & stylish rapper..big loss to the old school hiphop family..will be greatly missed..love and prayers to his family..God bless you all..

    April 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  53. D. Tree

    So sad.. I'm surprised not to see more coverage of this news – maybe it illustrates the disconnect between hip-hop and other parts of our culture... this is big news and should be covered everywhere but you hardly see it.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Boris

    Multiple Myeloma is a devastating disease! I also lost last month my 46 year old brother to it after a 3 year battle. My thoughts and prayers are with Guru's family. I know their pain.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Ata Uiterloo

    I was pleas to meet him in person at the north sea jazz festival in the hahge, the netherlands. He was very nice to me and my wife. We are a true fans of him. May god welkom his soul and i believe his son will do well in live.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Robby Cano

    Another leaf has fallen,

    another soul has gone.

    But still we have God’s promises,

    in every robin’s song.

    For he is in His heaven,

    and though He takes away,

    He always leaves to mortals,

    the bright sun’s kindly ray.

    He leaves the fragrant blossoms,

    and lovely forest, green.

    And gives us new found comfort,

    when we on Him will lean.

    ****God Bless you Guru, you will be forever missed. Growing up on your music, you epitomized hip hop. Listening to Dwyck, Ex-Girl to the Next, Take it Personal, You Know my Steez, Discipline, Full Clip, Code of the Streets, Mass Appeal, Moment of Truth, just to name a few of the songs, you had me grooving too. Your lyrics will forever be played and legacy will live on. Today, I lost a piece of my teenage/your adult years but will never stop listening to the music you made for us. I send this out to you as you sent out your music to me, God Bless Brother, you will forever be missed, and only the good die young.

    RIP Guru

    Robby Cano.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  57. edcypher2k

    The "Bald Head Slick" will be missed!! RIP GURU!! You will be sorely missed in this "REAL Hip-Hop" game... DJ PREMIER, keep him alive through the music... WORD!!

    April 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Erik G

    One of hip hop's true talents. kept it real till the very end. RIP Guru. you will be sorely missed...

    April 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Philizay

    Guru left his mark on hip-hop, and he will never be forgotten by true listeners. While it's been rumored that he & DJ Premier had a volatille falling-out several years ago, Guru's success also came from being part of Gang Starr. It's sad that Guru had to die so young. However, his lyrical genius will live on forever. I've often felt that Guru is an underrated rapper who doesn't receive his due credit. Maybe, now people will start listening to his music and realize that hip-hop will not be same without him.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Andizzle

    RIP Guru. You will truly be missed. In a hip hop musical climate that is slowly becoming a cesspool of overindulgance, materialism, and one that not only promotes, but advocates a level of stupidity, you were a shining star of integrity. Along with Big L the hip hop community will truly miss your unique abilities.

    And I must agree with AG, something doesn't seem right about the stuff Solar released regarding his death. Something just doesn't seem right.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  61. tony knotah


    April 21, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  62. R . Tennyson

    I just heard about the passing of Guru, we're loosing people way too soon. My prayers are with his family right now. I know the feeling of loosing a loved one to cancer; one of all time favorites is gone. Please stay prayerful for his family for their loss. He was indeed a true hip hop legend.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  63. Akbar Vanterpool

    A light has been dimmed for all of us who enjoy true artistry and creativity – I've followed this brother from way back – from Manifest to DWYK. Switching gears for a bit, I would be remiss not to mention the lives that he has impacted through his foundation – a tremendous loss – My prayers go out to his family despite all the rumors and such – the love is obvious and the sandness enormous – we are all family so let's keep it peace – it's how my brother would have wanted it – in his honor, "these are the words that I manifest" – Akbar

    April 21, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  64. AG

    I don't know that letter he supposedly wrote to his fans seems fake to me, doesn't sound like Guru if you ask me. If so Solar is dirty! His family didn't even know about any foundation. So weird, Guru was a lyrical genius.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  65. ktp

    Gang*Star forever Guru ( It's mostly the voice ) RIP...

    April 21, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  66. Met him in Atlanta

    I remember meeting him. He was sooo nice to me and my sister. We were partying at the Phoenix nite club in Atlanta. We had no problem getting into VIP. He spoke to us and we partied man. I love you GURU
    and you are going to be surely missed.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  67. Cameron

    He will be missed by true hip hop fans, a couple of gun charges and a few more b@#$^s or my time as a huster stories he would be front page story

    April 21, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |

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