Guru, the producer and MC best known for his work with the seminal hip-hop duo Gang Starr, died of cancer on April 19, 2010. He was forty-seven.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 17, 1962, Guru—whose real name is Keith Elam—first made waves in the late 1980s, when he teamed up with DJ Premier to form Gang Starr. Between 1989 and 2003, the pair of performers released six albums and appeared on the Mo’ Better Blues soundtrack. On his own, Guru was just as prolific and turned out seven proper studio albums under his own name. His four-volume Jazzmatazz series, issued between 1993 and 2007, fused jazz and hip-hop, and featured heavyweights like the trumpeter Donald Byrd, the saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and the vibraphonist Roy Ayers.
In late February, Guru suffered a heart attack and slipped into a temporary coma. At the time of his death, he had been battling with cancer for more than a year.
Update: We mistakenly reported that he was forty-three, as did most other sources.
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