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MF Doom
Credit: Jim Dyson/Redferns

Daniel Dumile, the legendary and enigmatic rapper known as MF Doom, has died at age 49, according to his family. His wife Jasmine posted a tribute to MF Doom’s Instagram on Thursday saying that Dumile had died on Oct. 31. She did not reveal his cause of death.

"Thank you for all the things you have shown, taught and given to me, our children and our family," Jasmine wrote in the Instagram caption. "Thank you for teaching me how to forgive beings and give another chance, not to be so quick to judge and write off. Thank you for showing how not to be afraid to love and be the best person I could ever be. My world will never be the same without you. Words will never express what you and Malachi mean to me, I love both and adore you always. May THE ALL continue to bless you, our family, and the planet."

Dumile performed with a metal mask modeled after the Marvel comic book villain Doctor Doom, and was rarely seen in public without it after debuting the Doom persona with the 1999 album Operation: Doomsday. He had previously rapped in the group KMD under the alias Zev Love X alongside his brother Dingilizwe Dumile, a.k.a DJ Subroc, who was struck by a car and killed on the Long Island Expressway in 1993.

“I wanted to get onstage and orate, without people thinking about the normal things people think about,” Dumile told Ta-Nehisi Coates in a 2009 profile for The New Yorker. “Like girls being like, ‘Oh, he’s sexy,’ or ‘I don’t want him, he’s ugly,’ and then other dudes sizing you up. A visual always brings a first impression. But if there’s going to be a first impression I might as well use it to control the story. So why not do something like throw a mask on?”

A masked alter ego was a perfect fit for Dumile’s private personality. In later years, he would sometimes send imposters ("Doomposters") on stage wearing his mask to lip-sync along with his recorded tracks. This strategem may also have been inspired by the comic book Doctor Doom, who will often send robotic “Doombots” to face superheroes like the Fantastic Four in his place.

Despite the theatrics, Dumile’s work was undeniable. In addition to his solo albums like Vaudeville Villain and Mm...Food, Doom frequently collaborated with other artists like Madlib (on 2004's Madvillainy), Danger Mouse (on 2005's The Mouse and the Mask), and Bishop Nehru (on 2014's NehruvianDoom). He also produced a series of instrumental albums known as Special Herbs.

Other rappers were quick to post tributes to the departed Doom after the news broke on Thursday. "May Allah be please with our Brother MF Doom," Jay Electronica wrote.

"MF DOOM FOREVER," tweeted El-P.

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