10:40 AM PT -- Phife's family just released a statement confirming the rapper died from diabetes.
Phife Dawg -- a member of the iconic rap group A Tribe Called Quest -- died Tuesday.
Phife battled health problems for years -- he suffered from Type 1 diabetes -- and underwent a kidney transplant in 2008.
Roots drummer Questlove posted a lengthy tribute to Phife on Instagram, tagging the post as coming from Linden Boulevard ... a street in Queens the group frequently mentioned in their songs.
Along with rapper Q-Tip and DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Tribe was popular in the '90s with songs like "Scenario," "Can I Kick It?" and "Award Tour."
He was 45.
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