Biz Markie, a beloved rapperr best known for the smash hit “Just a Friend” passed away at a Baltimore area hospital on Friday evening, July 16.
He was 57 years old.
The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but the artist had been battling serious complications from diabtes for the last year or so.
According to TMZ, he died while holding the hand of wife Tara Hall.
“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,” reads a statement from Markie’s rep.
“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.”
Concluded the message:
“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.”
Biz Markie was hospitalized in April 2020 for the aforementioned health issues.
At one point he suffered a stroke after being placed in a diabetic coma.
In 1988, the rapper released his debut album, Goin’ Off, which made its way to No. 90 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and included his first Billboard hit.
This track, “Make the Music With Your Mouth,” peaked at No. 84 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1987.
However, the star’s major breakthrough arrived with his sophomore album, 1989’s The Biz Never Sleeps, which included his one-and-only Hot 100 entry: “Just a Friend.”
This signature single reached number-five on the Hot Rap Songs chart in December 1989 and eventually became the artist’s only Billboard Hot 100 entry, hitting number-nine in March 1990.
The track’s success helped its parent album crack the top 10 of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
In the wake of “Just a Friend,” Biz Markie landed a trio more top 10s on Hot Rap Songs:
“What Comes Around Goes Around” (No. 4 in 1991)
“Let Me Turn You On” (No. 7, 1993)
“Young Girl Bluez” (No. 4, 1993)
In addition to his music career, Markie also acted in movies and on television, becoming a fixture on the children’s TV series Yo Gabba Gabba! with his “Biz’s Beat of the Day” beatboxing segment.
May he rest in peace.