Rapper Guru's former Gang Starr collaborator DJ Premier has paid tribute to the star, describing him as "a brother" - despite his late friend reportedly slating him in a farewell letter.
The hip-hop legend was admitted to a New York medical facility in February after he suffered a heart attack and slipped into a coma. He was diagnosed with anoxia, a condition where the body lacks an adequate supply of oxygen. It was later revealed Guru, real name Keith Elam, was also battling cancer, but chose to keep the news private. He passed away on Monday, April 19.
Following his death, his business partner Solar released a letter from Guru, in which he apparently wrote that his final wish was that Premier, who he reportedly hadn't spoken to in seven years, must not be attached to anything using his "likeness, events, tributes etc." or "connected in any way to my situation", reports AllHipHop.com.
The request raised speculation the letter isn't real, but in a post on Solar's Twitter.com page he slammed the reports, writing, "Guru made this statement from his own mouth and anybody saying different is insane with Hate!"
But despite the controversy surrounding their alleged fractured relationship, Premier has issued his own statement honouring his former colleague and claiming the pair was planning to reunite for a seventh album. He writes, "It was a sad day for me to get confirmation on the death of a man who I will continue to call my brother, Keith Elam, better known as Guru of the legendary Gang Starr..."
"I've been asked to comment on a letter speaking ill of me which was supposedly written by Guru in his dying days. All I will say about it is that our time together was beautiful, we built a hip-hop legacy together, and no one can re-write history or take away my love for him... I love you Goo... DJ Premier."