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Gylan Kain, a founding member of the famed spoken word group The Last Poets, has died as shared in a recently published report. The family of Kain did not initially release details of his death, which happened early last month.

The New York Times reports that Gylan Kain died in the city of Lelystad in the Netherlands while at a nursing home. According to Kain’s son, Rufus Kain, his father passed away from heart disease.

As seen on the website of founding The Last Poets member Abiodun Oyewole, the group got its start in 1968. Below is an excerpt from the biography section of Oyewole’s page:

The Last Poets were born on May 19, 1968, when David Nelson, Gylan Kain, and Abiodun Oyewole read poetry at a memorial for Malcolm X. Their goal was to be a poetic voice for Malcolm’s call for self-determination and Black Nationalism. Like many black activists of the time, they were tired of Martin Luther King’s integrationist agenda. They were much more influenced by the politics of radical members of the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), the SDS Students for a Democratic Society), and the Black Panthers.

The name of the group was taken from a poem by the South African revolutionary poet Keorapetse William Kgositsile, who posited the necessity of putting aside poetry in the face of looming revolution: “When the moment hatches in time’s womb there will be no art talk,” he wrote. “The only poem you will hear will be the spearpoint pivoted in the punctured marrow of the villain….Therefore we are the last poets of the world.”

Fans of Earl Sweatshirt might know that the late Kgositsile is his father and has been a focus in some of the rapper’s lyrics throughout his career.

The Last Poets are often seen as the precursor to the Hip-Hop pillar of rapping, and their recorded works have been sampled by Hip-Hop artists. Further, many of the group’s members and their various incarnations have worked alongside the likes of Common, Nas, and Public Enemy among others.

Kain shortly turned to acting after his initial stint with the group and performed in a handful of stage productions. In the 1980s, Kain relocated to Amsterdam and continued to record music, and remained an actor. He was previously married to June Lum and the couple had three children.

Gylan Kain is survived by Rufus Kain, Khalil Kain, Khayyam Kain, Khayyam Kain, and Amber Kain along with seven grandchildren.

He was 81.

Photo: Getty

Gylan Kain, Founding Member Of The Last Poets, Has Died  was originally published on hiphopwired.com