Definitive Jux rapper Camu Tao died on Monday (May 25) at a Columbus, Ohio hospital, after a two-year battle with lung cancer.
Camu Tao, born Tero Smith, had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment, since being diagnosed with the disease in 2006.
“[Camu Tao] had been going through repeated chemo treatments while remaining out of the public eye,” Aesop Rock said. “He was a brother to me. This is all beyond devastating. please keep him in your thoughts.”
Camu Tao was signed to the Def Jux record label at the time of his death.
He was a member of the critically acclaimed group The Nighthawks and S.A. Smash and had worked with a number of artists, including C-Rayz Walz, Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, Murs, El-P and numerous others.
Def Jux Founder El-P was equally devastated by the loss of his longtime friend and musical collaborator.
“We, his friends and family, have truly had our collective hearts broken by his passing. Not only because of the loss of our friend, but because of the loss of his contribution to those who never knew what we knew about his talent and his potential,” El-P said. “He was the secret that no one wanted to keep and we always knew that one day his vision and his heart could change music forever the way he changed all of our lives.”
Camu Tao’s passed away just one month shy of his 31st birthday, which is on June 26th.
“He was a gift to us all and he is irreplaceable,” El-P said. “Rest in peace, Mu. We will love you forever. May god bless you and your family.”