Rapper and DJ Biz Markie, who is best known for his 1989 hit “Just a Friend” and who was the announcer of the raunchy puppet series crank yankers, has passed away. He was 57.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce that tonight, with his wife Tara by his side, hip-hop pioneer Biz Markie passed away peacefully,” said a statement from Markie’s representative to our sister site Variety. “We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support we have received during this difficult time.
“Biz created a legacy of artistry that will be forever celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music for more than 35 years,” the statement continues. “He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his lively personality, constant jokes and frequent chatter. We respectfully ask for privacy for his family as they grieve for their loved one.”
The Harlem resident who stole a scene in 2002 2002 Men in Black II, played versions of themselves on shows like blackish and Rich. He also worked as a voice actor on animated series such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Adventure Time and Angry. Markie appeared as a superhero on the children’s offer Yo Gabba Gabba! and regularly guest-starred on the popular sketch show In living color in the 1990s.
Markie’s cause of death is unknown at this time. The rapper, born Marcel Theo Hall, was hospitalized in April 2020 due to complications from diabetes. The much-loved and outspoken beatboxer also suffered a stroke in 2020 while in a diabetic coma.
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