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

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Rapper Biz Markie, a hip-hop staple known for his beatboxing prowess and turntable mastery, has died at the age of 57, according to multiple reports.

The “Just a Friend” rapper struggled with multiple health issues related to decade-long battle with Type 2 diabetes.

Biz Markie, whose real name is Marcel Theo Hall, died peacefully Friday with his wife Tara by his side, Markie’s representative Jenni Izumi said.

“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time,” Izumi said in a statement. “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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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