The Tragic Death Of Rapper Biz Markie

Rapper Biz Markie has died at age 57, according to TMZ. The iconic musician died after fighting complications from diabetes for more than a year, the outlet reported. The beloved rapper was known for his hit "Just a Friend." TMZ reported that Markie was hospitalized in 2020 for complications related to Type II Diabetes. At the time, his rep told the outlet that Markie was "receiving the best care from an amazing team of medical professionals."

Markie's health was the subject of many rumors. One persistent rumor was that the rapper was in a coma, but sources told TMZ that was not true. In April 2021, Big Daddy Kane appeared on "The Breakfast Club" with good news about Markie. According to TMZ, Kane told the "Breakfast Club" hosts that Markie's health had improved and that he was in a physical rehabilitation facility. Keep reading for more information about Markie's death.

Biz Markie's death leaves friends, family, and fans heartbroken

Biz Markie's manager, Jenni D. Izumi, confirmed his death and provided a statement to NPR and other media outlets. "We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time," Izumi said. "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," she added.

A source told TMZ that Markie died with his wife, Tara Hall, holding his hand. He is survived by his two kids, according to HITC.

Markie was a larger-than-life figure in hip-hop with a career that lasted more than 35 years. According to NPR, the rapper was a "beloved cultural figure" who was "celebrated for his spirited personality" and his music, especially his 1989 hit "Just A Friend." Read on to learn more about Markie's career.

Biz Markie earned the nickname the 'Clown Prince' for his 'silly humor'

Biz Markie was born Marcel Theo Hall in Harlem, New York, and raised in Long Island, according to the New York Times. Growing up, his friends called him "Markie," and he was a huge fan on Busy Bee Starski, which ultimately led to him choosing the stage name "Bizzy B Markie" (which was later shortened), he told the Washington Post in 2019.

Markie released his first mix-tape in the late 1970s, and went on to make appearances at various Manhattan nightclubs to hone his craft. He went on to release five full-length records; one in 1988, another in 1989, his third in 1991, a fourth in 1993, and the last one in 2003. Although he saw measured success, Markie never blew up like other rappers in the 80s and 90s. Nevertheless, the song "Just a Friend," which was officially released as a single in 1989, was a hit — and remains his biggest single. 

According to Rolling Stone, Markie earned the nickname the "Clown Prince of Hip-Hop" because of his "half-sung (and intentionally off-key) choruses, riveting beatboxing, and silly humor." He is also known as one of the biggest one-hit wonders in the hip-hop world. "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," his rep Jenni Izumi said in her statement following his death.

Biz Markie was still working in the business in 2021

Biz Markie was performing as recently as September 2019, and had quite a few plates spinning in recent years. According to his IMDb page, he had been cast in "Chaaw," which is slated to be released in 2022, though it's unknown if he was able to film his scenes before he died. Prior to that, Biz appeared in a 2020 video short called "Stay in the House" and made a guest appearance on a 2017 episode of "Black-ish." In February 2020, Markie was given the role of midday host on LL COOL J's Rock the Bells Radio on SiriusXM. LL COOL J took to Instagram to share an emotional video message about his dear friend on July 16.

Markie may have only had one hit song, but he told the Washington Post that it had kept him going for decades. "The weirdest thing about my fame is that when I'm thinking that it's almost over it just sparks back up. I made "Just a Friend" in '89. Some people's records die — it sprouts up. Now it's 30 years later and it's sprouted up again in commercials. They're not letting me die. The public, the fans, they like me around," he said in the 2019 interview.

"I'm going to be Biz Markie until I die. Even after I die I'm going to be Biz Markie," he told the Washington Post. And so he will be.