Biz Markie, the famously rapper who is most known for his iconic hit Just a Friend, died at 6.25 p.m. on Friday night due to complications arising from Type 2 diabetes, according to TMZ. The 57-year-old rapper had been suffering from the condition from about a year. He died at a Baltimore hospital with his wife by his side. He had previously been hospitalized for the same condition in July 2020 as per a report by TMZ.
Jenni Izumi, a representative, released a statement saying that the rapper Biz Markie had peacefully passed away with his wife Tara by his side. The representative thanked all those who called and sent prayers of support.
She added that Biz had created a legacy of artistry that would be remembered by peers and fans whose lives were touched by his long musical career that spanned thirty-five years.
In 1989 he released his biggest hit Just a Friend. It had a prominent melody interpolated from You Got What I Need by Freddie Scott. It reached the Billboard Top 10 singles chart, and its humorous video was also well received. However, after his third album I Need a Haircut was released in 1991, he was sued by singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan for sampling his song Alone Again (Naturally) on Markie’s track Alone Again.
Markie lost the case, and it was referred to criminal court. No charges were brought against Markie and the rest of the team who were part of the track, but his singing career plummeted. Markie joked about its effect in his album All Samples Cleared.
After the lawsuit, which changed the use of samples by musicians, Markie acted in a few film and TV shows and his comedy was much appreciated. Some of them included Men in Black II, Living in Color and Crank Yankers. He was also a voice in the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants and Adventure Times. He made cameo appearances in ABC’s Blackish and Fox’s Empire. He also appeared several times with The Beastie Boys, who openly admired him.
Condolences poured in from singers, musicians, actors, news anchors and fans. Some of his admirers and peers posted pictures of themselves with the legendary hip-hop artist Biz Markie as they paid heartfelt tributes to him as a person and as a rapper.