July 17, 2021
Biz Markie, the rapper best known for his 1989 hit “Just a Friend,” has died. He was 57.
Born Marcel Theo Hall, the musician’s death was confirmed by his manager, Jenni D. Izumi. No cause of death has been revealed but he reported had been ill for months.
“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time,” Izumi wrote to NPR via email. “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.”
In another statement obtained by PEOPLE, his representative states that his wife Tara was by his side the evening of his passing.
“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.”
Born April 8, 1964, in New York City, “The Clown Prince of Hip Hop” started his career in local clubs and was a beat boxer of the Juice Crew, a rap collective formed with Big Daddy Kane. He released his debut album “Goin’ Off” in 1985.
It wasn’t until his platinum-selling song “Just A Friend” broke into mainstream music. His sophomore album, “The Biz Never Sleeps,” was certified gold by the RIAA.
I can remember so many times trying to beat box like you until my lips was sore?& whenever we saw each other your energy was always so full of Life/Love/& Good Vibes? Your impact in the culture Is 4EVER?? & you will NEVER be Forgotten???? Rest king @BizMarkie? pic.twitter.com/gCzsdzQtwS
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) July 17, 2021
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) July 17, 2021
We’re sending our prayers to Biz Markie and his family.