The musician had been struggling with ill health and diabetes for several years, and received a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008.
Born Malik Isaac Taylor in 1970, he co-founded the philosophically-focused rap group in 1985 with his classmates Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.
Their biggest hit came in 1991, with the single Can I Kick It?
The band recently reformed to perform the song on Jimmy Fallon’s US chat show, as they marked the 25th anniversary of their debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.
News of Phife Dawg’s death emerged on Twitter, where producer and broadcaster DJ Chuck Chillout posted an RIP message in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Rolling Stone magazine later confirmed his death, although an official statement has yet to be released.
Rapper Chuck D was among those paying tribute to the star, calling him “a true fire social narrator”.
(Source Cowan : Black Media Scoop)