Ricky "Lord Infamous" Dunigan, founding member of the Academy Award Winning Hip-Hop group Three 6 Mafia, passed away on Friday at the age of 40. Fellow Mafia bandmate Uncle DJ Paul told Rolling Stone that Dunigan died from a heart attack.
Paul spoke of Dunigan's importance to hip-hop. "He was a legend in the game, truly ahead of his time. He was such a great lyricist and he always came with these different styles in his rap and his flow."
Three 6 Mafia got their start on the streets of Memphis, Tennessee in the early 1990s. The original band consisted of Dunigan, Paul, Juicy J and Koopsta Knicca. They released their debut album, Mystic Stylez, in 1995. Ten years later they would receive an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 78th Academy Awards for "It's Hard Out Here for Pimp," a song from the soundtrack for the film Hustle and Flow. Three 6 Mafia was the first hip-hop group to ever win an Oscar.
Ten years after their Oscar win, the band reunited and renamed themselves Da Mafia 6ix. The group is planning a March 2014 release for their album titled, 6ix Commandments. Paul spoke lovingly of his former bandmate. "Lord Infamous was the kind of person that never cared about having a lot of money or this or that. He just liked to make music, he liked to rap, and he liked to make people happy."
Paul stated that Dunigan suffered a stroke and a heart attack in 2010. However, there were no reports that he was suffering any health problems recently.
Several Twitter fans and friends reacted to the news of Dunigan's passing.
https://t.co/GW7hUxFpw5 Rip Lord Infamous. ..... . Prayers go out to all The Family, Friends & Fans, Stay Strong, Htown Love,Mafia....Mafia
— POINT BLANK 713 (@POINTBLANK713) December 24, 2013
— mark twilla (@mtwilla) December 24, 2013
R.I.P. Lord Infamous. One of the best of us.
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) December 24, 2013
Welcome to paradise you can put down ya cross!! T-Rock Well done (A tribute to Lord Infamous)... http://t.co/mMXG0fNftg
— T-Rock (@TRock420) December 30, 2013
RIP Lord Infamous // Lord Infamous f/ DJ Paul, "Drag 'Em from the River" (1994) http://t.co/bN7uVVEFSu
— Jon Caramanica (@joncaramanica) December 21, 2013
Image via Wikipedia Commons