Legendary New Yorker rapper Biz Markie dies at 57


Biz Markie, the legendary New York rapper and DJ best known for his 1989 hit “Just a Friend,” died Friday evening after a battle with complications from diabetes. He was 57.

The beloved artist died at a Baltimore hospital, and held his wife’s hand as he took his last breath, according to his manager.

“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,” Jenni Izumi said in a statement to The Post.

“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.”

No official cause of death was released. Markie had long struggled with Type 2 diabetes, and was hospitalized in April 2020 due to complications from the illness.

“To the baddest in the beats icon legend … my brother BIZ MARKIE… I’LL miss you more than words ….,” his brother, rapper Diamond Shell posted on Facebook.

The Harlem native, born Marcel Theo Hall, was raised on Long Island and was lovingly known as “The Clown Prince of Hip Hop,” for his lighthearted and irreverent musical style and persona.

He gained notoriety for his beat boxing and rhyming skills, breaking into the music industry in 1985 as a beat boxer for Roxanne Shante of the Juice Crew.

The artist recorded five full length albums, and the popularity of his earworm platinum hit about an unavailable romantic interest continues to resonate with international audiences across generational lines.

His song “Just a Friend” was nominated for an MTV Music Award for best video and reached No. 9 on the Billboard charts, a position that wouldn’t give justice to the tune’s iconic standing and lasting appeal.


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