Biz Markie has passed away at the age of 57, his manager confirms in a statement to REVOLT.

“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,” he writes, confirming the passing of the “Just a Friend” rapper. “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. 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.”

In a story they published today (July 16), TMZ reported that a family source told them that Biz passed away while in a Baltimore hospital earlier tonight. His wife Tara Hall, along with other members of his family and the hospital staff were reportedly with him as he passed on, with Hall holding his hand.

Two weeks ago, rumors that Biz passed away spread on social media. In a statement to REVOLT, his manager denied the rumors.

“The news of Biz Markie’s passing is not true,” the statement said about Biz, who suffered a stroke last December. “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.”

Biz was originally hospitalized for conditions related to Type II diabetes last summer. He had been trying to recover from those issues ever since.