Legendary rapper Biz Markie, best known for his hit single, "Just A Friend," died Friday night at the age of 57 years old, a representative for his family announced. Markie was battling diabetes at the end of his life.
His wife, Tara Hall, reportedly held his hands as he passed in a Baltimore hospital around 6:25 PM, Friday night.
“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 Jenni Izumi said in a statement, according to Rolling Stone. “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. 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.”
Rumors of his passing began circulating in recent weeks as his health worsened, but a rep for his family denied the stories.
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Markie was born in Harlem in 1964 and move out to Long Island at the age of 10. He became an international star in 1989 when his single "Just a Friend" blew up and quickly went platinum. Throughout his career, Markie acted in numerous films and TV shows, such as Men in Black II.
Check out the iconic music video for "Just A Friend" below.