Biz Markie, iconic ‘Just a Friend’ rapper, dead at 57

Biz Markie (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

Biz Markie (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Biz Markie, a hip-hop staple known for his beatboxing prowess, turntable mastery and the 1989 classic “Just a Friend,” has died. He was 57.

Markie’s representative, Jenni Izumi, said the rapper-DJ died peacefully Friday evening with his wife by his side.

The cause of death has not been released. TMZ reports that Markie had been battling a series of complications from diabetes for more than a year.

Markie, whose real name is Marcel Theo Hall, became known within the rap genre realm as the self-proclaimed “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” for lighthearted lyrics and a humorous nature.

He’s made music with the Beastie Boys, opened for Chris Rock’s comedy tour and was a sought-after DJ for countless star-studded events.

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