Rap legend Biz Markie dead at 57

Biz Markie dead at 57

Hip-hop icon Biz Markie has passed away at the age of 57.

The Just a Friend hitmaker, real name Marcel Theo Hall, died at a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday evening.

A statement issued by his representative, Jenni Izumi, reads: "It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, hip hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away.

"We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time.

"Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter. We respectfully request privacy for his family as they mourn their loved one."

Izumi did not share a cause of death, but TMZ sources claim he passed away after suffering complications from diabetes, a health issue he had battled with for the past decade.

The news of Markie's loss emerges days after his spokesperson was forced to deny rumors suggesting he had died due to an undisclosed illness in late June.

He had struggled with particularly bad health over the last year, and was hospitalized as a result of diabetes-related problems in April, 2020, before suffering a stroke which reportedly put him into a diabetic coma.

The Harlem, New York native rose to fame with the release of his 1988 debut album Goin' Off, and achieved global recognition in 1989 with the success of his classic single Just a Friend.

Nicknamed the Clown Prince of Hip Hop, due to his playful nature, he went on to release four more solo studio albums, with his last project, Weekend Warrior, coming in 2003.

He was also known for his beatboxing skills, and made the transition to the screen in the mid-1990s, with acting gigs on TV shows such as In Living Color, Crank Yankers, Yo Gabba Gabba!, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

He also featured in Men in Black II in 2002, and more recently appeared in Sharknado 2: the Second One, Empire, and Black-ish.

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