Celebs mourn the death of hip-hop legend Biz Markie

Friends of Biz, from music artists to athletes, pay tribute to the late rapper in social media posts

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Friends and fans are mourning the loss of hip-hop pioneer Biz Markie, who died on Friday at age 57 after a long battle with diabetes.

Biz may be most well-known for his platinum-selling 1989 hit, “Just a Friend,” but he was one of rap music’s most singular figures as an innovative beatboxer, successful DJ and overall hip-hop ambassador.

Born Marcel Theo Hall, Biz had been suffering from diabetes and with his weight for over a decade. Reports of his deteriorating health first occurred last July when he was hospitalized over complications of diabetes.

His death was prematurely reported by several news sites late last month, but his family revealed he was still alive, but receiving medical care

With his death now officially confirmed by his manager, Jenni Izumi, tributes to the rap legend have been pouring in from celebrities and hip-hop figures who knew Biz personally, worked with him or were fans themselves.

Rapper/actor LL Cool J took to his Instagram page to release a video about Biz’s passing. At the time of his hospitalization, Biz had been working as a weekly DJ on LL’s SiriusXM’s channel “Rock the Bells Radio.” A visibly emotional LL, real name James Todd Smith, shared his many memories with Biz since his first days as a rapper.

“Yo, I just want to say rest in power to Biz Mark, my friend,” Smith said as he held back tears. “There’s so many memories, man. You was in the basement of my grandmother’s house when I wrote ‘Rock the Bells.’”