Biz Markie, the pioneering rapper, producer, and beatboxer whose jovial goofiness, boundless, off-kilter creativity and innovative music made him a singular presence in hip-hop, died Friday at the age of 57.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, hip hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away,” his rep Jenni Izumi said in a statement. “We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time.
“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,” Izumi added.
“He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter. We respectfully request privacy for his family as they mourn their loved one.”
While a cause of death was not revealed, the rapper had struggled in recent years with health issues related to his decade-long battle with Type 2 diabetes.