MF Doom, the legendary rapper known for his iconic stage persona and elaborate lyrical style, has died at the age of 49, his wife Jasmine confirmed in a statement. “The greatest husband, father, teacher, student, business partner, lover and friend I could ever ask for,” she wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for all the things you have shown, taught and given to me, our children and our family. Thank you for teaching me how to forgive beings and give another chance, not to be so quick to judge and write off.” The caption confirmed that Doom had “transitioned” on October 31 of this year. MF Doom’s label, Rhymesayers, also posted the news on their Instagram, writing, “With heavy hearts, we share these words from MF DOOM’s family. It is our wish to continue to respect their privacy at this difficult time.” A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Tributes to Doom, whose career began in the late ‘80s, poured in on social media in the wake of the news. A pioneer of underground hip hop, Doom collaborated with the likes of Ghostface Killah and Danger Mouse, in addition to releasing six studio albums. Doom first started performing with the rap group KMD, which disbanded after the death of Doom’s brother, DJ Subroc, in 1993. Doom retreated from music until he released his hugely influential debut solo album, 1999’s Operation: Doomsday. Vulture wrote of the title track off of Doomsday, that Doom had “rebuilt his image in mourning and, in the process, spawned a hooded supervillain.” Rapper Phonte tweeted of Doom’s legacy, “One of the greatest comebacks/second act stories in hip hop history,” and record producer Kenny Beats wrote, “I heard that some authors rewrote entire novels by the greats just to see how it felt. Denzel and I made UNLOCKED talking about DOOM every single day just trying to channel an ounce of the feeling.”
Tyler, the Creator, Flying Lotus, and Questlove also paid tribute to Doom on Twitter, with Flying Lotus tweeting, “All u ever needed in hip-hop was this record. Sorted. Done. Give it to the fucking aliens,” alongside the album cover of 2004’s Madvillainy.