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Lovebug Starski, co-inventor of the term "hip-hop," dies at age 57

Johnny Nunez/Getty ImagesDJ and rapper Lovebug Starski, known as the co-inventor of the term "hip-hop," passed away Thursday from a heart attack at the age of 57. 

His daughter, Tiffany Williamsconfirmed the news to Rolling Stone magazine on Friday. 

Born Kevin Smith, the iconic performer from the Bronx -- the birthplace of the musical genre which became known as hip-hop -- was a part of the main group of pioneering DJ's in that New York City borough. 

That group included icons Grandmaster FlashAfrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc and Grand Wizard Theodore.  

Last year, Smith told California-based independent music chain Amoeba Music that he indeed "coined the term 'hip-hop,'" adding, "I used to go 'hip, hop, the hip, hip the hopping.' You know it was just a nursery rhyme: nursery rhymes that coincided with the music and that's the God's honest truth." 

Grandmaster Flash told Rolling Stone that Smith "played an extremely important role" in the world of hip-hop. "What set him apart was he was able to DJ and talk on the mic, and do both at the same time, and he was really good at this. We all do it now... but in the hip-hop world, Starski was probably the first to handle it."

Hip-hop legends, like Public Enemy's Chuck D, paid tribute to Lovebug after hearing about his death. On Twitter, Chuck wrote Thursday, "This MAN. #Thank YOU Rest in Beats Salute #LovebugStarski." 

DJ Premier also sent his condolences with a heartfelt tweet, writing, "We Lost One Of Our Greatest Pioneers of Hip Hop... "LOVEBUG STARSKI". He Is Also Known As One Of The People Who Came Up With The Name 'HIP HOP' Aside From Another Legend 'Keith Cowboy' Of 'The Furious 5'... Salute To All The Pioneers and Condolences To His Family #HipHop."  

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