*Rapper Guru, the former lead singer of hip hop duo Gang Starr, has died following a long battle with cancer, according to a statement published on DJ Premier’s blog site. He was 43.

The MC, whose real name was Keith Elam, reportedly passed away early Monday (April 19). He suffered cardiac arrest on March 2 and had briefly been in a coma.

The statement on DJ Premier’s blog site includes a letter that was apparently written by Guru in recent days and passed to friend and producer Solar.

According to Solar, “Guru suffered from the malicious illness for over a year and after numerous special treatments under the supervision of medical specialists failed, the legendary MC succumbed to the disease. Guru always tried to keep this harrowing diagnosis in private but in early 2010 he had to admit himself to hospital due to serious effects caused by the disease.”

Guru and Premier, as Gang Starr, released six albums between 1989 and 2003. Guru went on to release a series of “Jazzmatazz” albums featuring collaborations with Cortney Pine, Roy Ayers and Kool Keith.

The Solar letter posted on Premier’s site includes a portion that suggests an ongoing beef between Guru and Premier.

According to Solar, Guru allegedly wrote: “I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this. I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ. As the sole founder of GangStarr, I am very proud of what GangStarr has meant to the music world and fans.”

To this, Premier responds on his blog: “This letter is way outta hand Solar. Why the f*** did nobody stop that dude??? I’m stuck with mix feelings, sorry. I can’t accept this. R.I.P. Guru, play his songs!! He will be remembered for ever and ever!!”