Music World in Mourning As Biz Markie Passes Away at 57

Hip hop artist Biz Markie, best known for his Billboard Hot 100 “Just a Friend,” died at age 57 on Friday after an uphill battle for his health.

TMZ reported that he had died in a hospital in Baltimore, United States, at 6:25 p.m. Friday.

Through a statement, Markie’s representative Jenni Izumi confirmed the rapper’s death.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side of him, Hip Hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away,” Izumi said.

The representative thanked fans for the calls and prayers of support that his friends and family 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,” Izumi stated.

“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,” she added.

Markie’s cause of death is unclear. However, he was reportedly hospitalized for a week in April last year due to diabetes complications.

The legendary rap star was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2014.

It was also reported that the rapper suffered a stroke while in a diabetic coma.

In June, false rumors over Markie’s death circulated on social media.

Back then, Izumi denied the fake news in a statement to Rolling Stone, saying Biz was still under medical care.

She stated he was surrounded by professionals who worked hard to provide him with the best possible medical care.

On Friday, the hip-hop artist’s brother Diamond Shell also took to Facebook to confirm Markie’s death and pay him tribute.

“To the baddest in the beats icon legend… my brother BIZ MARKIE… I’ll miss you more than words….,” he wrote.

Tributes from other artists in the music industry poured in after his death was announced.

Rapper QTip from Queens wrote: “This one hurts bad,” adding that he would miss his friend Biz.

TV host Tamron Hall also wrote: “Rest In Peace. This man made my laugh, cry, and feel such joy. You will be missed,” describing Markie as “incomparable.”

Biz Markie, born Marcel Hall, became known for his talent for freestyle and beatboxing.

His debut album, Goin ‘Off, was released in 1988 and peaked at No. 90 on the Billboard 200 album chart. It also included his first Billboard hit Make the Music With Your Mouth, which reached No. 84.

His second album, 1989’s The Biz Never Sleeps, featured his only entry on the Hot 100: “Just a Friend,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Hot Rap Songs chart.