Veteran American rapper, Biz Markie, known for classic rap song ‘Just a Friend,’ has died at age 57.

Markie’s representative, Jenni Izumi, said the New York rapper, beatboxer, and producer died peacefully Friday evening, July 16, with his wife by his side. 

“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time,” Izumi said in a statement. “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.”

“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,” Izumi added. “He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter. We respectfully request privacy for his family as they mourn their loved one.”

While a cause of death was not revealed, the rapper had struggled in recent years with health issues related to his decade-long battle with Type 2 diabetes.

 In April 2020, he was hospitalized due to complications related to the disease, and later that year suffered a stroke after going into a diabetic coma. There were reports he was rehabilitating, but his condition continued to decline, leading to premature reports of Markie’s death in late June.

“Biz is still under medical care, surrounded by professionals who are working hard to provide the best health care possible,” Izumi wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone at the time.