Born Malik Taylor, the rapper died from complications resulting from diabetes, his family said.
"Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend. We love him dearly," the statement obtained by ABC News read. "How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family."
His manager, Dion Liverpool, added, "While I mourn the loss of my best friend and brother, I also will celebrate his incredible life and contribution to many people's ears across the world. Even with all his success, I have never met a person as humble as he. He taught me that maintaining a positive attitude and outlook can conquer anything. Now my brother is resting in greatness."
Phife called himself "the Funky Diabetic" in several Tribe songs and was open about his struggle with diabetes. In 2008, he received a kidney transplant from his wife and in 2012, he shared his story in the documentary "Beats, Rhymes and Life."
His other nicknames included "Five Foot Assassin" and "The Five Footer," referring to his 5-foot-3-inch height.