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MF DOOM
via Instagram (@mfdoom)

RIP MF Doom – hip hop hero dead age 49

The family of the London-born musician, real name Daniel Dumile, confirmed his death on social media

MF Doom has died age 49 – a hip hop star and formidable self-styled supervillain, known for his dexterous rhythms and impressive hyper-production of prolific releases. The enigmatic rapper’s death was confirmed on social media by his wife Jasmine Dumile, who detailed that he passed October 31.

Rolling Stone also confirmed the news with his official representatives. A cause of death has not been confirmed. In a tribute post on Instagram, his wife Jasmine described him as “the greatest husband, father, teacher, student, business partner, lover, and friend I could ever ask for”.

The 49-year-old musician, whose real name was Daniel Dumile, was born in London and raised in New York, where he came up in the 80s using the moniker Zev Love X in the group KMB, alongside his younger brother DJ Subroc. He would also perform in Manhattan club open mics wearing tights over his face, first donning his Marvel character Doctor Doom mask in the late 90s. He protected his visage in public with masks throughout his career.

His MF Doom debut, Operation: Doomsday, dropped in 1999, with a seismic amount of stellar music following – six solo albums, and a multitude of collabs, compilations, mixtapes, and productions. His 10-part Special Herbs series spanned almost a half-decade. He also used two other monikers – King Geedorah for Take Me to Your Leader and Viktor Vaughn for Vaudeville Villain. His most celebrated release was 2004’s Madvillainy, a collaboration with Madlib, which saw him gain chart success. Doom’s final solo album, Born Like This, was released in 2009.

In the years since, he had sporadically been collaborating and guesting on records with the likes of Flying Lotus, Ghostface Killah, Gorillaz, Thundercat, Radiohead, and Bishop Nehru – most recently was last month’s BADBADNOTGOOD tune “The Chocolate Conquistadors”.

Artists including Tyler the Creator, Sleaford Mods, Flying Lotus, and Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest paid their respects to Doom in social media tributes.

"All u ever needed in hip-hop was this record," Flying Lotus tweeted, captioning the iconic Madvillainy album cover. "My soul is crushed."

Q-Tip tweeted: “RIP to another Giant, your favourite MC's MC... MF DOOM. Crushing news.”

Tyler, The Creator also tweeted: “Safe travels villain.”

In a now revered New Yorker profile, MF Doom spoke candidly about his mask, origins, and persona: “I wanted to get onstage and orate, without people thinking about the normal things people think about. 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?”