A Tribe Called Quest established itself as a household name in Hip Hop through five albums and becoming cultural influencers. The group lost one of its founding members, Phife Dawg, when the rapper died yesterday (March 22) due to complications from diabetes.

The rest of the group: Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White, have released a statement about the passing of their friend. A Tribe Called Quest was founded in Queens, New York in 1985.

“Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed. The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy… until he heeded his fathers call.

“We love his family his mother, his father, his son, his wife, his nieces, his family here in New York, Atlanta, California and Trinidad.

“Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJ’s, social media and the music community at large. This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him. His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you. We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy.

“We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother.”

Earlier today (March 23), Phife Dawg’s family released a statement on his passing.

The Five Foot Assassin made five albums with A Tribe Called Quest, including 1990’s People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm1991’s The Low End Theory and 1993’s Midnight Marauders. He released a solo album, Ventilation: Da LP in 2000.