One of the pioneers of Hip-Hop, Biz Markie, died at the age of 57.
Marcel Theo Hall known as Biz Markie was born on April 8, 1964 in Harlem, NY. Biz Markie adopted his stage name when he began his career in New York City as a teenage beatboxer and freestyle rapper. His 1989 hit “Just a Friend” reached the Top 40 in several countries and went platinum.
Most recently, known for his appearances in dozens of episodes of Nick Jr.’s children’s television series. I gabba gabba! While having classic guest roles on Fox Network In vivid colors and in the movie Men in Black II.
A statement from your representative to PEOPLE on Friday he confirmed his death.
“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support we have received during this difficult time. Biz created an art legacy that will always be celebrated by his industry peers and 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 jokes. We respectfully request privacy for your family as you mourn your loved one. “
Biz Markie had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in his late 40s and said he lost 140 pounds in the following years. “He wanted to live,” he told ABC News in 2014. The cause of death remains unknown, but he was hospitalized last year due to complications from diabetes.
The Harlem-born rapper had a 35-year career that touched many. Shortly after news of his passing broke, multiple tributes arrived for the “Vapors” rapper. E40, Questlove, Viola Davis, Missy Elliot, Bootsy Collins, and more share their condolences and memories of Biz Markie.
E40 wrote: “RIP Legend @BizMarkie #gonebutneverforgotten #ripbizmarkie #fuckdiabetes”
Q-Tip tweeted, “This one hurts so much… RIP my brother Aries… ahhh man @BizMarkie damn I’m going to miss you so many memories… it hurts so much. My friend. “
Questlove wrote a heartfelt tribute in I G, which he shared via Twitter.
“Biz built me man. In my early stages it was Biz who showed me the REAL places to copy records. “
“It taught me A LOT. I’m using ALL the education he taught me, ”he continued in the long caption. “We will miss him. But he will be here forever. I love you Biz.”
Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis added: “I loved you Biz Markie! I loved your music! BREAK. “
Kirk Franklin tweeted: “Oh darling YOU…. You have what I need … “my childhood jam RIP BIZ”.
A gloomy Bootsy Collins wrote: “We lost another rap legend, Mr. Biz Markie, an American rapper, singer, DJ, record producer, actor, comedian and writer. He is best known for his 1989 single “Just a Friend”! For many of us, he was more than just a friend. RIP Prayers for family and friends. Bootsy. “
Blockbuster Alchemist shared the sentiment: “The Devil! Man. Biz Markie rest in peace. There aren’t enough words to explain how important it is to all of us. “
Missy Elliot also took him to Twitter: “I can remember so many times trying to beat the box like you until my lips hurt and every time we saw each other your energy was always so full of Life / Love / and good vibes Your impact in the culture it is 4EVER and you will NEVER be forgotten King of rest @BizMarkie “.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and our Hip-Hop community. He leaves behind his wife Tara Hall and many fans. Nobody beats the BIZ.