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Zion I founder Steve 'Baba Zumbi' Gaines dies aged 49

Californian rapper, and founder of Zion I, Steve ‘Baba Zumbi’ Gaines, has passed away aged 49.

Gaines’ family has confirmed the sad news to the San Francisco Chronicle, who revealed that he died on Friday morning at the Alta Bates Hospital in San Fransisco in California. His death is currently being investigated by homicide detectives who are trying to uncover the cause.

In a statement to the Chronicle, the rapper’s family said: “We are in a deep state of grief and processing this loss. We are awaiting further details from the hospital at this time so we can understand exactly what happened and determine our next steps.”

The news report says that Berkeley police chief Melanie Turner said police responded to calls at 5am on Friday after being alerted by patients and staff at the hospital “about a patient involved in a physical altercation with nurses and hospital security officers”.

Turner added that following the arrival of police, “officers started handcuffing the involved person and determined that he needed immediate medical assistance,” but “unfortunately and sadly he was pronounced deceased on the scene.”

Gaines’ Zion I co-founder Amp Live posted a heartfelt tribute to his fallen friend. He wrote: “I have no way of really letting you know the sadness that I am feeling right now.

“We built something special together,” he added. “Zion I was organic and was real with no barriers. We built this group from ground zero. Built something up that enabled us to travel the world, many times. My heart right now is just shattered. I would not be who I am today without my brother.

“Steve was an excellent father, out of this world vocalist, and the most sincere, real, loving friend anyone could have. He was something special. Please send prayers to his family, children, and loved ones.”

See more tributes below.