*Friends, family, fans and fellow hip-hop icons gathered Monday on Long Island to remember DJ Biz Markie, who died last month after a lengthy battle with complications from Type 2 diabetes.
Born Marcel Theo Hall, the beloved rapper died in a Baltimore hospital on July 16. He was 57.
Markie “peacefully passed away” with his wife by his side, his rep previously told PEOPLE 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,” the statement read.
OTHER NEWS: Rapper Biz Markie Has Passed Away at Age 57
I am honored to deliver the eulogy on Monday for Marcel Theo Hall –the legendary Biz Markie who touched the world with his infectious smile, amazing energy, and Hip-Hop hits. His wife Tara sent this photo of us at the ESSENCE Festival years ago. pic.twitter.com/aWmL4TdrZB
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) July 30, 2021
“Biz was an icon,” said rapper Busy Bee outside a private memorial service at the Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts. “He is what we call hip-hop.”
“He was more than just a friend. He was our icon,” Rev. Al Sharpton said during the service. “He was our example.”
Sharpton said Markie “brought the world to respect our culture with their R&B, all the way to gospel.”
Biz’ widow, Tara Hall, recalled how he “made me laugh every day.”
“The thing I’m going to miss the most about him was every time he would see me, his face would just light up with that Chiclet, toothy smile,” Hall said. “Seeing him smile made me smile.”
She also described how her late husband found joy in the hip-hop industry.
“One day, Biz said to me, ‘Tara, I have the best job in the world.’ And I said, ‘What, being a DJ?’ And he said, ‘No, just being me,’ ” she recalled.
“A person like that should live forever,” Hall added. “I may not be taking care of Biz’s physical body anymore, but I am going to take care of his legacy.”
The private memorial featured moving tributes from rapper-turned-pastor Montell Jordan and singer Roxanne Shante. Ice-T, Busta Rhymes, Al B. Sure!, Fat Joe, Grand Puba, Kid Capri, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and Fat Joe were also in attendance.
“Everybody in this room is here because Biz earned our attendance, because he was always there for us,” Sharpton said, according to Page Six. “He was our star. He was more than just a friend. The hit record doesn’t tell you the whole story. Thank you, Biz. You never let us down. You were more than just a friend.”
Hall said the Obamas wrote their family a condolences letter in the wake of Biz’s passing, according to TMZ.
“I mean even Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, they sent me a heartfelt letter,’ Hall said, adding that the family was “blown away that they took the time out to send their condolences about the loss of our loved one in our family.”