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Gang Starr's Guru hospitalized after heart attack

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guru.jpgCaption: Hip-hop artist Guru performs in Moscow in October 2006. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

UPDATE: Despite what friends and supporters are tweeting, Gang Starr's Guru - a.k.a. Keith Elam - is still in a coma and his condition is "touch and go." So says Harry Elam, the 88-year-old father of the hip-hop pioneer who grew up in Dorchester. We reached the elder Elam in Buzzards Bay, where the retired Massachusetts judge lives alone. (His wife, Barbara, is in a nursing home.) Elam told us he's upset about the "misinformation" tweeted by Guru's former musical partner, DJ Premier. "Why is someone who has not spoken to my son in 10 years talking about his medical condition?" said Guru's dad. Harry Elam said his son was originally hospitalized for complications from back surgery and, as far as he knows, his son has not had heart surgery. (DJ Premier tweeted that Guru had successful surgery.) "Keith is seriously ill," said his father, who is relying on reports from his other children. "You never think this is going to happen to you." 

 

Gang Starr frontman Guru, who was known as Keith Elam as a kid growing up in Dorchester, was fighting for his life in a New York hospital last night after suffering a heart attack. Elam's music partner DJ Premier said members of the rapper's family were with him. Elam, 43, has kept a low profile in recent years, but released a solo album, "Lost and Found," in 2009. Gang Starr, whose LPs included "Step in the Arena," "Daily Operation," "Hard to Earn," and "Moment of Truth," was one of the first rap acts to blend hip-hop and jazz. Their music caught the ear of director Spike Lee, who included the group in the soundtrack of "Mo' Better Blues." Elam's father Harry was a lawyer and judge - appointed to the bench by Gov. Francis Sargent - and his mom, Barbara, was a director of the library system in Boston schools. Elam attended Noble & Greenough School and Cohasset High School before enrolling at Morehouse College in Atlanta. In a 1992 interview with the Globe, Elam said, "You have to go for yours. Nobody is going to do it for you. My father used to say that all the time, but I never really learned that until I was out on my own. That's one thing a lot of young brothers have to learn for themselves."

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This blog features the latest local and national celebrity news from The Boston Globe's Names column team. Check back for the latest updates.
Mark Shanahan joined The Boston Globe in 2003, having worked previously at the Portland Press Herald, where he covered City Hall, and the Lewiston Sun-Journal, where he was the education reporter. A Northampton native and graduate of Bates College, Shanahan enjoys the usual - books, music, movies, etc. - as well as the unusual.
shanahan@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MarkAShanahan
Meredith Goldstein has worked for the Globe since 2003, covering everything from nightlife to New Kids. She keeps her eyes peeled for celebrity juice, and also writes Love Letters, a Boston.com blog for hopeful (and hopeless) romantics. Meredith chats about love problems every Wednesday at 1 p.m. If you see Justin Timberlake or someone like him at a local eatery, please e-mail her immediately. mgoldstein@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MeredithGoldste

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