Rapper and DJ Biz Markie has died, aged 57.
The hip-hop star’s representative, Jenni Izumi, announced the news on Friday (16 July). She said that Markie died peacefully with his wife by his side.
There is no word on the cause of death.
“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time,” Izumi said.
“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.”
Markie – born Marcel Theo Hall – began his career as a beat boxer in the rap collective Juice Crew in 1985. The New Yorker was best known for the rap song “Just a Friend”, which he released four years later.
It was the lead single on his second album, The Biz Never Sleeps. The friend-zone anthem cracked Rolling Stone’s top 100 pop songs and made VH1’s list of 100 greatest hip-hop songs of all time.
According to the rapper’s website, he consistently booked more than 175 shows a year, according to the rapper’s website. His screen credits include the television show In Living Color and the 2002 movie Men in Black II, in which he played an alien parody of himself opposite Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
Markie also taught the method of beatboxing in an episode of the children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba!
He released a total of five studio albums.
Biz has reportedly suffered several health scares over the past few years.
He was admitted to hospital in 2020 for an illness related to Type II diabetes, and reportedly suffered a stroke.
Additional reporting by Agencies