Apache, who has worked with hip-hop stars Tupac Shakur and Fat Joe, has died from an undisclosed illness.

The star, who rose to fame as part of Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit crew, passed away on Friday.

Apache - real name Anthony Peaks - was signed to Tommy Boy records and was best known for his controversial hit Gangsta B**ch. He also appeared on tracks by Shakur and A Tribe Called Quest.

His pal, Vin Rock from Grammy-Award winning group Naughty By Nature, tells MTV News, "I got a call from (Flavor Unit's) Shakim (Compere) this morning, Queen Latifah's manager. He was really feeling it. He told me, and I spread the word to (DJ) Kay (Gee) and Treach and the rest of our camp."

Peaks' age at the time of his death is unknown. No further information was available as we went to press.