Three 6 Mafia founding member Ricky Dunigan, AKA Lord Infamous, died after suffering a heart attack at his mother's Memphis home on Friday (20th Dec.) night. The rapper, who was 40 years-old, reportedly passed away at the dinner table in the company of his mother as well his half-brother and group co-founder DJ Paul.

Juicy J DJ Paul
Three 6 Mafia's Juicy J & DJ Paul.

"He was at home sitting at the table and he just lay his head down and he just left us," Paul said, via Rolling Stone. Although the performer said that Infamous had shown no signs of recent illness, he has suffered a stroke and heart attack in 2010.

Both rappers began their careers in the early 1990s and worked together before the Three 6 Mafia had been conceived. After teaming up with Juicy J, the pair formed Three 6 Mafia in 1991 and released their debut album, Mystic Stylez four years later. As one of the rap unit's core members, Infamous is said to have played a pivotal role in shaping the direction and malevolent tone of the group.

Three 6 Mafia collaborated for many years with other names in rap and underwent several line-up changes as their sound evolved from dark, menacing and gritty to a more mainstream hip-hop sound. They were rushed to worldwide fame after winning an Oscar for their 2005 song 'It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp' which was featured in the same year's movie, Hustle and Flow. The increased spotlight on Infamous and co. after their Oscar win gave their record sales a boost with an estimated 5.5 million album sales worldwide with two RIAA platinum rated albums.

Earlier in 2013, five of the group's members reformed under the name Da Mafia 6ix and released a mixtape called 6ix Commandments. Infamous had reportedly been working on material for a new album, said to be set for release in March 2014 along with a re-release of his old mixtape series. Three 6's sound was woven into the mainstream when they featured on Justin Timberlake's song 'Chop It Up' from the pop star's 2006 album FutureSex/LoveSounds.

Listen To Lord Infamous' 'Till Death' [Explicit]:

Three 6 groupmate Gansta Boo tweeted her anguish over Infamous' death. "Rest in Peace Lord Infamous," she wrote. "Please respect the family and dear friends during this tragedy."

"He was a legend in the game, truly ahead of his time," DJ Paul remembered. "He was such a great lyricist and he always came with these different styles in his rap and his flow."

"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."