Biz Markie, 'Just a Friend' Singer, Dead at 57

Biz Markie, most famous for his iconic song “Just a Friend,” has died. He was 57. 

Markie’s brother, Diamond Shell, confirmed the news on Facebook on Friday. “To the baddest in the beats icon legend … my brother BIZ MARKIE,” he wrote. “I’LL miss you more than words ….”

“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 to RollingStone.

“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.”

According to TMZ, Markie died at a hospital in Baltimore surrounded by his family. Born Marcel Theo Hall on April 8, 1964 in Harlem, Markie was raised in Long Island where he gained popularity for his beat boxing and rhyming as a teen. In 1989, Markie released “Just a Friend” as the lead single from his second album The Biz Never Sleeps. It is Markie’s most successful single to date, ranking on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop. 

His television and film credits include Men in Black II, Sharknado 2: The Second One, Empire, Black-ish, Spongebob Squarepants and In Living Color. 

Following the news of his death fans and friends took to social media to honor Markie. 

LL Cool J shared a teary Instagram video remembering the late rapper. “”Rest in power Biz..I love you bro,” he captioned the video. 

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