Rapper Biz Markie is alive, publicist says in response to death rumors

Biz Markie is still alive despite widespread rumors on the Internet that the rapper passed away Wednesday night, according to a statement from the artist’s representative.

“The news of Biz Markie’s passing is not true,” his publicist said in a statement, according to Rolling Stone magazine. “Biz is still under medical care, surrounded by professionals who are working hard to provide the best healthcare possible.”

ExploreJULY 2020: Rapper Biz Markie hospitalized for weeks due to diabetes

A year ago this month, the old-school rapper known as the “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” was hospitalized for several weeks with complications from Type 2 diabetes, first diagnosed in 2010, multiple news outlets reported at the time.

The 57-year-old Markie, whose real name is Marcel Theo Hall, was treated in the Maryland area for a serious illness related to his diabetes, TMZ reported in July 2020, although his exact condition was unclear.

“He is receiving the best care from an amazing team of medical professionals and we remain positive about the outcome,” the representative for the musician said, according to TMZ.

Fellow rapper Big Daddy Kane gave an interview to The Breakfast Club hip-hop show in April where he revealed Markie had suffered a stroke. “He’s getting better,” Kane said, according to Rolling Stone. “He’s in rehabilitation now. He’s getting better and stronger every day. Last time I talked to him on the phone, he got a real light voice, but last time I talked on the phone. He stuck his middle finger up at me, so I think he’s coming along.”

A pioneer rapper, Markie rose to fame in the 1980s during the early days of hip-hop music.

In 2014, Markie revealed his diabetes diagnosis and how he slimmed down from 385 pounds to 244 to improve his health.

“I wanted to live,” he told ABC News in 2014. “Since I have to be a diabetic, If I didn’t make the changes, it was going to make the diabetes worse. I’m trying to get off [the diabetes meds]. The way you gotta do it is lose the weight. I’m off half my meds, I just got to get off the rest … [The doctors] said I could lose my feet. They said I could lose body parts. A lot of things could happen.”

Markie hasn’t made a studio album since “Weekend Warrior” in 2003, but he has made numerous television appearances, performed voice acting and other special public showings in recent years. Most recently, Markie was serving as a guest host on SiriusXM’s channel 43 — called LL Cool J’s Rock The Bells Radio — which plays old-school rap music.

Markie had a clever-but-comedic approach to his rhymes, which alternated between rapping, singing and beat-boxing. His most famous song “Just a Friend” appears on his second studio album “The Biz Never Sleeps,” and it reached No. 9 on the Billboard charts in 1989. Through the years, the song has been used in countless TV commercials, shows and movies.