The group announced the death of the Philadelphia-born host on Wednesday in a social media post. The cause of death has not been revealed.
Malik B, real name Malik Abdul Basit, has been a major contributor to the group, which includes Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter. He appeared on four albums before leaving the group in 1999. The group won their first Grammy the following year.
The Roots, who also perform as a house band on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show,” paid tribute to Malik B for his rap skills and faith.
“We regret to inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and longtime Roots member Malik Abdul Basit,” the group said on Twitter. “He will be remembered for his dedication to Islam and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask you to please respect his family during our time of mourning.
Malik B returned as a featured guest on the band’s 2006 album “Game Theory” and “Rising Down” in 2008. As a solo artist, he released two studio albums titled “Street Assault” and “ Unpredictable ”.