Hip Hop pioneer Lovebug Starski suddenly passed away at his home in Las Vegas on Thursday (February 8), according to multiple social media posts. He was 57.

The Bronx native was born in 1960 and was one of Hip Hop’s earliest MCs. He’s also one of two people who’s credited for coining the phrase “Hip Hop.” In 1978, he became a DJ at the Disco Fever Club and released several singles as Little Starsky, including 1979’s “Gangster Rock” and 1981’s “Dancin’ Party People.”

Although he never quite got the recognition he deserved, his name is often mentioned in the same breath as fellow Hip Hop pioneers Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash. 

Chuck D, who told HipHopDX Starski died from a heart attack, was a longtime friend of the Public Enemy mastermind.

“Lovebug Starski was A DJ, MC and innovator,” Chuck told DX. “A pioneer who excelled before and after the recording line of ’79, the year when rap records began. He was the first double trouble threat in Hip Hop and rap music. He DJ’ed for the great MCs and MC’ed with the great DJs. Besides Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lovebug Starski was one of the few that took his legendary street records status into the recording world.”

Tributes have started pouring in for Starski on social media.

Check out some of the posts below.

Damn. S.I.P to the legend and pioneer #LovebugStarski

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