Biz Markie, the beloved rapper best known for his song “Just a Friend,” passed away in a Baltimore-area hospital Friday night, July 16.
He was 57 years old.
The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but the artist has been battling serious complications from Diabetes for the past year or so.
According to TMZ, he died while holding the hand of his wife, Tara Hall.
“It is with great sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara at his side, the death of hip-hop pioneer Biz Markie,” reads a statement from a Markie representative.
“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support we have received during this difficult time.
“Biz has created a legacy of art that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and beloved fans who have touched their lives through music, over the course of 35 years.”
The message concluded:
“He leaves behind a wife and many close family and friends who will miss his vibrant personality and constant jokes and frequent banter.
“We respectfully request the privacy of his family as they grieve for their loved ones.”
Biz Markie was hospitalized in April 2020 due to the above health issues.
At one point he had a stroke after falling into a diabetic coma.
In 1988, the rapper released his debut album Goin’ Off, which made its way to #90 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and included his first Billboard album.
This track, “Make the Music With Your Mouth,” peaked at number 84 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1987.
However, the star’s big breakthrough arrived with his second album, 1989’s The Biz Never Sleeps, which included his one and only Hot 100 entry: “Just a Friend”.
This featured song reached number five on the Hot Rap Songs chart in December 1989, and eventually became the artist’s only Billboard Hot 100, reaching number nine in March 1990.
The song’s success helped the original album break into the Top 10 of the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
On the heels of “Just a Friend”, Biz Marquee has three other top 10 hits in hot rap songs:
- “What’s Around You” (No. 4 in 1991)
- “Let Me Turn You On” (No. 7, 1993)
- “Young Girl Bluez” (No. 4, 1993)
In addition to his music career, Marche has also worked in films and television, becoming a staple on the children’s television series Yo Gabba Gabba! With the Beatboxing clip “Biz a Day”.
May he rest in peace.