Malik B, founding member of The Roots, has died at 47

Malik B, a rapper and founding member of The Roots, has died

LOS ANGELES -- Malik B, a rapper and founding member of The Roots, has died. He was 47.

The group announced the death of the Philadelphia-born emcee in a social media post Wednesday. The cause of death was not released.

Malik B, whose real name is Malik Abdul Basit, was a major contributor to the group, which includes Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter. He appeared on four albums before departing the group in 1999. The group won its first Grammy the following year.

The Roots, who also perform as the house band on the Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show,” paid homage to Malik B for his rap talents and faith.

“We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit,” the group said on Twitter. “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.”

Malik B returned as a featured guest on the group’s 2006 album “Game Theory” and “Rising Down” in 2008. As a solo artist, he released two studio albums named “Street Assault” and “Unpredictable.”