Rapper and entertainer Biz Markie has passed away at age 57. He was best known for his hit record Just a Friend and his beatboxing abilities.
The actor and rapper, whose real name is Marcel Theo Hall, was also dubbed the Clown Prince of Hip Hop due to his playful personality.
Markie’s representative, Jenni Izumi, confirmed he has passed away in a statement but did not specify a cause of death.
Biz made headlines in April 2020 when he was hospitalized with severe complications from Type 2 diabetes.
Later that year, reports circulated that Biz had suffered a stroke and was rumored to be in a diabetic coma.
His health issues led to death rumors his representative denied at the beginning of July.
However, Biz Markie succumbed to his illness and died on Friday in a Baltimore hospital at 6:25 PM, according to TMZ.
“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,” his rep said in a statement announcing his death.
“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,” Izumi added.
“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,” the statement concluded.
Tributes pour in for Biz Markie
Biz Markie was a prolific entertainer aside from his successful music career. He voiced Kenny the Cat on Spongebob and appeared in an iconic scene in Men in Black II, where he played a beatboxing alien.
He released five albums and several compilations during his career. Additionally, Markie’s music has appeared in several video games.
Numerous celebrities, fans, and friends paid tribute to Biz Markie on social media.
Biz Markie also appeared on the Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba! He created an influential segment named Biz’s Beat of the Day in which he taught children how to beatbox.
In his last years, Markie appeared in Sharknado 2, Fox TV show Empire, and VH1 game show Hip Hop Squares.