By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Biz Markie, the pioneering New York hip-hop rapper best known for the hit song, “Just A Friend,” died Friday at the age of 57.

According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, a representative confirmed the death with a statement to the outlet that said, in part:

“It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, Hip Hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away. 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.”

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Markie, born Marcel Theo Hall in April 8, 1964, in New York reportedly suffered from ill health for some time and was hospitalized last year for complications of Type 2 Diabetes, THR reported. Earlier this year, THR said Markie suffered from a stroke.

Markie released his first album, “Goin’ Off,” in 1988. The following year, he released, “The Biz Never Sleeps,” with the single “Just A Friend.” That single became his most successful single, making the Top 10 in the Billboard charts and being named one of VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs Of Hip Hop in 2008.

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On July 1, rumors of Markie’s death circulated on Twitter, though his representative told Rolling Stone in a statement at the time that the rumors were unfounded.

“Biz is still under medical care, surrounded by professionals who are working hard to provide the best healthcare possible,” the statement said.

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He is survived by his wife, family members and close friends.