The Three 6 Mafia family has suffered a devastating loss today (Oct. 9). Koopsta Knicca, one of the founding members of the Memphis rap group, has passed away from a stroke. He was 40 years old.

Days before his death, fellow Three 6 member DJ Paul was urging his fans to send prayers and miracles to Knicca as he was hospitalized with a brain aneurysm caused by the stroke.

The Commercial Appeal confirmed the sad news and DJ Paul released a statement detailing the circumstances of Knicca's death. It reads:

My group member and brother for over 20 years, Robert “Koopsta Knicca” Phillips passed away today at 12:55 am CST from a major stroke he had sunday after showering. He went in peace. Me and Koop had just started writing his new album Devil’s Playground 2, the second part to his famous solo album that I produced, but we didnt get a chance to record yet. We had concerts coming up starting next month too. He also just got a home in Vegas that he was moving to on Tuesday, but never got to even see it in person. Everyone who knew Koop knew he was very funny and the coolest guy ever! He will be missed!!! We made classics together that’ll live on!!! Mafia 4 Life!!!!"

Born Robert Cooper Phillips, Koopsta Knicca joined Three 6 Mafia when the group formed in the early '90s. He was also a part of the splinter rap group Da Mafia 6ix with DJ Paul and Crunchy Black. He appeared on numerous Three 6 albums, including their 2000 effort, When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1. He eventually left the group after he was incarcerated and pursued a solo career and released his most well-known project, Da Devil’s Playground.

Since then, he dropped a series of mixtapes and a few independently-sold albums before reuniting with former Three 6 members to form Da Mafia 6ix. He was working on a sequel to Da Devil’s Playground with DJ Paul at the time of his stroke.

Knicca is the second Three 6 Mafia member to have died in the last couple of years. Lord Infamous passed away of a suspected heart attack in 2013.

We send our sincerest condolences to the Phillips family and the surviving members of Three 6 Mafia. May he rest eternally in peace.

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