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Rapper and DJ Biz Markie has died aged 57.
The hip-hop star, who was best known for his hit Just A Friend, died with his wife by his side, according to his representative Jenni Izumi.
In a statement, Izumi said: "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.
"He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter."
Tributes have begun to pour in for the rapper, with Ice T posting on Twitter to say: "My close friend Bizmarkie.. Is gone at 57.. We shared a tour bus our very 1st tour 'The Dope Jam Tour' @LegendaryCOOLV , TJSwan.. We were all so young and hype. Enjoy every single moment of life with your friends and family. "Life is Short" via RunDMC."
Rest in Beats, Brother Biz :pray::dove:@BizMarkie pic.twitter.com/6Ys3LGBk4l
- PUBLIC ENEMY (@PublicEnemyFTP) July 17, 2021
Loved you Biz Markie!! Loved your music!!! RIP :pray::dove::heart: pic.twitter.com/aHzxGPe03b
- Viola Davis (@violadavis) July 17, 2021
Actor Martin Lawrence shared a snap of Markie, writing: "My prayers and condolences go out to the family of the iconic Biz Markie. Much love brotha."
While Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea wrote: "All of my love to the one of a kind bringer of love and joy, the great Biz Markie. I will bang his records til the day I die".
Markie, whose real name was Marcel Theo Hall, kicked off his career as part of the Juice Crew rap collective in 1985.
His 1989 song Just A Friend, from his second album, made VH1's list of 100 greatest hip-hop songs of all time.
Alongside his successful music career, Markie was also a credited actor with roles in the tv show In Living Color and Men in Black II, in which he played an alien parody version of himself.
A cause of death has not been announced.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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