Biz Markie has died at the age of 57.
According to TMZ, the legendary rapper — known for his 1989 hit "Just a Friend" — passed away in a Baltimore hospital at 6:25 PM on Friday (July 16) after a "series of complications from diabetes that he's been fighting for more than a year."
“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,” Biz's rep, Jenni Izumi, said in a statement, per Variety. “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.”
In July 2020, Biz was reportedly hospitalized for weeks due to complications with Type II Diabetes. At the time, Biz's rep told TMZ, "He is receiving the best care from an amazing team of medical professionals and we remain positive about the outcome."
The late rapper was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 and opened up about his diagnosis in 2013 after losing 140 pounds. “I walk. I do the treadmill, I walk around the mall,” he said at the time. “I do a little crunches with my stomach, not that much. Just enough to get the engine going cha-cha-cha-cha-cha-cha! Vroooommmmm.”
The Harlem rapper, born Marcel Theo Hall, was also a DJ, producer, actor, comedian, and writer.