Just a Friend rapper Biz Markie dead at 57

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Biz Markie, the rapper best known for his 1989 hit “Just a Friend,” died Friday evening after a battle with diabetes complications.

The 57-year-old artist died at a Baltimore hospital, and held his wife’s hand as he took his last breath, according to his manager.

“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,” Jenni Izumi said in a statement to The Post.

“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.”

“To the baddest in the beats icon legend … my brother BIZ MARKIE… I’LL miss you more than words ….,” his brother, rapper Diamond Shell posted on Facebook.

The Harlem native, born Marcel Theo Hall, was raised on Long Island and was lovingly known as “The Clown Prince of Hip Hop,” for his lighthearted and irreverent musical style and persona.

Biz Markie was hospitalized last year with complications related to his Type II diabetes.

The artist recorded five full length albums, and the popularity of his platinum hit continues to resonate with international audiences across generational lines.

Biz was also known for his work in film and TV, including “Men in Black II” and Nick Jr’s children’s program “Yo Gabba Gabba” where he would perform “Biz’s Beat of the Day.”

“He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter,” Izumi said.

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