Biz Markie, known for his single “Just a Friend” and popularizing beatboxing, as well as for his television and film roles, died after a long illness.

After suffering years of poor health, iconic rapper Biz Markie died at the age of 57.

Markie was known for popularizing beatboxing, the art of creating rhythms with his hands and mouth to accompany singers and rappers. His music had an eclectic and quirky sound and often contained humorous lyrics, as epitomized by his classic 1989 single “Just a Friend.” A representative for Markie shared the news of her death in a statement, as reported THR.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce, tonight, with his wife Tara by his side, Hip Hop pioneer Biz Markie passed away peacefully,” the statement read. “We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support we have received during this difficult time. Biz created a legacy of art that will always be celebrated by his industry peers and his loving fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, which spans more than 35 years. “

Although he built his name on his original music in the 1980s, earning the Joker-style nickname “the Clown Prince of Hip-Hop,” Markie’s career continued with collaborations with artists such as the Beastie Boys and Will Smith. He also began acting later in life, appearing in Men in Black II like a beatboxing alien and on Sharknado 2: The Second. His television credits include Empire Y Blackish, and the surreal children’s show I gabba gabba! it even included a segment titled “Biz’s Beat of the Day.”

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Markie’s health had been deteriorating for years, with a hospitalization for type 2 diabetes last year that was reportedly followed by a stroke earlier this year. His representative’s statement acknowledges his personal ties, as well as his impact on the culture, saying: “He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent jokes. Family while crying. to your loved one. “

Fountain: The Hollywood Reporter

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