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Rapper Biz Markie is still alive, manager confirms, amid rumors on social media

Biz Markie, on stage, holds a microphone.
Biz Markie was part of a panel at Comic-Con on July 25, 2014, in San Diego.
(Eric Charbonneau / Invision / Associated Press)

After a flurry of rumors and premature tributes across social media, management for the rapper Biz Markie confirmed that, as of Thursday morning, he was alive and receiving medical care.

“The news of Biz Markie’s passing is not true,” manager Jenni Izumi wrote in a statement to media. “Biz is still under medical care, surrounded by professionals who are working hard to provide the best health care possible. Biz’s wife and family are touched by the outpouring of love and admiration from his friends, peers and fans alike. At this time, we ask for your continued thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Markie, 57, has struggled with medical issues over the last decade — he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2010 and, in 2020, was hospitalized for complications related to the disease, according to TMZ. In April of this year, former collaborator Big Daddy Kane told the syndicated morning radio show “The Breakfast Club” that Markie had recently suffered a stroke.

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Born Marcel Theo Hall on April 8, 1964, in Harlem, N.Y., Markie was a pivotal figure in early hip-hop, best known for his endearingly warbly 1989 single “Just a Friend,” which remains a pop-culture staple. He was subject to a 1991 lawsuit that first defined emerging law around sampling, a ruling that forever changed the music industry and the craft of making hip-hop.

Markie, an affable and lovable figure, has become an unofficial goodwill ambassador for early hip-hop, hosting or appearing as a regular in several movies and TV shows, including “Men In Black II” and Nickelodeon’s “Yo! Gabba Gabba.”


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