Hip hop artist Phife Dawg of 'A Tribe Called Quest' dies at 45

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Malik Isaac Taylor aka Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest poses for a portrait at Sirius XM studios on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in New York.
Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP-AP

NEW YORK -- Hip hop artist and New York City native Phife Dawg of 'A Tribe Called Quest' has died, Rolling Stone reports. He was 45.

His real name was Malik Taylor, and he grew up in the St. Albans section of Queens. He also went by the nickname "Five Foot Assassin" and "The Five Footer," as he was only 5-feet, 3 inches tall.

Taylor's cause of death has not been announced, but Rolling Stones reported that he has had health issues for years, and even had a kidney transplant in 2008 as a result of his battle with diabetes.

Besides his records with "A Tribe Called Quest," Taylor performed with other groups and even released a solo album in 2000 called, "Ventilation: Da LP."

Social media Wednesday morning has been filled with posts mourning the artist's death.

Including this photo from actor and former football player Terry Crews:

Taylor was a huge sports fan, and even got a mention from the New York Knicks:

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In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, actor Max von Sydow poses at the International Film Festival Berlinale, in Berlin.
AP Photo/Gero Breloer, File