By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/CNN) — Malik B., singer, rapper and founding member of The Roots has died at age 47, the group confirmed Wednesday.

The group share a message on Twitter saying, “We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit. May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family in our time of mourning.”

Basit, who performed under the name Malik B., was part of the Philadelphia-based group from its early beginnings to about 1999, when he departed amid group tensions detailed in the song “Water” from The Roots album “Phrenology.” Written by Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, the track speaks to Basit’s struggles with addiction.

Basit went on to produce solo material and, several years after his departure, also appeared on several tracks on Roots albums.

No cause of death was immediately released.

The-CNN-Wire

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