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Koopsta Knicca (1975 - 2015)

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Koopsta Knicca (1975 - 2015)

Robert Cooper Phillips, a hip-hop artist known better by his stage name, Koopsta Knicca, a founding member of the rap group Three 6 Mafia, has died, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. He was 40.

The Memphis rapper died October 9 at an area hospital of complications of a stroke he suffered Sunday. Phillips' death was confirmed by Da Mafia 6ix publicist Dove Clark.

Phillips, who was born April 27, 1975, in Memphis, had been a member of the legendary hip-hop group since its founding in 1991.

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He released 10 solo projects throughout his career, including 1999's "Da Devil's Playground." He left Three 6 Mafia the following year as a result of legal issues that prevented him from being able to do shows and record videos.

After he left the group, Three 6 Mafia became the first hip-hop group to win an Academy Award for best original song with "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." The song, co-written with Frayser Boy, was one of the theme songs for the movie "Hustle & Flow."

Phillips rejoined when they became Da Mafia 6ix in 2013. The reunited group's album, "Watch What U Wish…," was released earlier this year.

Longtime collaborator and fellow Da Mafia 6ix member "DJ Paul" Beauregard told the Commercial Appeal, "Everyone who knew Koop knew he was very funny and the coolest guy ever. He will be missed."

Phillips was preceded in death by fellow former Three 6 Mafia member Ricky "Lord Infamous" Dunigan, who died in 2013 of a heart attack; he, too, was 40.

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