The rapped had been struggling with ill health and diabetes for several years, after receiving a kidney transplant from his wife back in 2008.
The news was broken by DJ Chuck Chillout, who tweeted in the early hours of this morning.
RIP to phife dog of tribe called quest pic.twitter.com/f4t5fvg4WD
— DJ Chuck Chillout (@djchuckchillout) March 23, 2016
Born Malik Isaac Taylor in 1970, Phife grew up in Queens, New York, where he co-founded A Tribe Called Quest with his schoolmates Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.