By Will Robinson
Updated March 23, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Al Pereira/Getty Images

A Tribe Called Quest have released a statement after the death of their former member, Phife Dawg.

“Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for, although we all know that life is fleeting,” the group said in a statement Wednesday evening. “It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed. The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy… until he heeded his father’s call.”

Phife Dawg, born Malik Isaac Taylor, died Wednesday due to complications resulting from Type 1 diabetes. He was 45 years old. The late emcee appeared on all five of the group’s studio albums.

The group initially broke up in 1998 after the release of The Love Movement. They reunited a handful of times throughout the 2000s to play concerts. Most recently, ATCQ performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last year to celebrate the release of their debut record, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.

“Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJ’s, social media and the music community at large. This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him,” the group’s statement continued. “His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you. We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy.“We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother.”