Biz Markie, the legendary artist behind the hit song “Just a Friend,” died Friday at the age of 57 from unknown causes.
“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 35 years,” Markie’s manager, Jenni Izuri, said in a statement to CNN. “He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter.”
Markie began rapping in local New York City clubs where he met producer Marley Marl in 1985, Rolling Stone reported. His flourishing music career produced major hip-hop hits, notably the 1989 hit “Just a Friend,” “Vapor,” and “Make Your Music With Your Mouth, Biz,” released in 1986. (RELATED: Rapper Indian Red Boy Shot And Killed In Disturbing Video)
The “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” suffered from a decade-long battle with Type 2 diabetes following his diagnosis in 2011. Markie was taken to a Maryland hospital in July 2020 where he resided for several weeks due to several complications related to the condition, USA Today reported. Later that year, Markie suffered a stroke and his health continuously declined throughout the year.Due to his declining health, false reports circled around that Markie had died in late June, 2021, Rolling Stone reported. Izuri announced that Markie had been receiving medical care in a statement to the outlet.
“Biz is still under medical care, surrounded by medical professionals who are working hard to provide the best health care possible,” she said at the time.
Markie opened up about his health in a 2014 interview revealing the possibility that doctors may remove his feet and other various body parts, ABC News previously reported. The rapper changed his diet and lost 140 pounds in order to benefit his health.
“I wanted to live. Since I have to be a diabetic, if I didn’t make the changes, it was going to make the diabetes worse,” Markie told ABC. “They said I could lose my feet. They said I could lose body parts. A lot of things could happen.”