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Guru of Gang Starr
Guru of Gang Starr

NEW YORK — Collaborators say Guru, the influential rapper who combined jazz sounds with hip-hop beats, has died at age 43 after battling cancer.

A statement from Solar says the world has lost “one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all time.”

The statement is on DJ Premier’s Web site, which says Guru died Monday. Premier and Guru were members of the rap duo Gang Starr.

An e-mail from The Associated Press to his associate and assistant was not immediately returned.

Guru’s real name was Keith Elam. He was born near Boston and later moved to New York. His first album as a member of Gang Starr, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” was released in 1989.

He moved on as a solo artist and released “Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1” in 1993.

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