Simon Vozick-Levinson
April 21, 2010 AT 05:39 PM EDT

Image Credit: Dalle/Mielniczek/LandovThe family of late Gang Starr rapper Guru (born Keith Elam) released a statement today on his passing. The family’s remarks clarify the circumstances of Guru’s death, saying that he battled a white blood cell cancer for more than a year before suffering a heart attack and entering a coma two months ago. Read the full statement below.

“The Elam family wishes to thank the fans of our son/brother/father/uncle/nephew/cousin Keith aka GURU for the outpouring of love, concern and support. Our hearts are broken by the loss of someone we loved so much. GURU was devoted to his young son, who will most keenly feel his absence. GURU suffered from multiple myeloma for over a year. Accrued complications from this illness led to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. As a result, GURU was in a coma from mid February until his death and never regained consciousness. Early on the morning of April 19th, he became hypertensive due to low blood pressure. He again went into cardiac arrest and slipped away from us. GURU died far too young but he was, and we are, proud of all his many legendary musical contributions. The family is not aware of any foundations established by GURU. We know and understand that countless fans want to express their condolences and love and, to that end, we are planning a memorial event in the near future that will be all-inclusive. Please look for further details from the family as they become available.”

More on Guru:

Guru, RIP: Our four favorite songs

Guru of Gang Starr dead at 47

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