Prince Markie Dee of the Fat Boys dead at 52

Artists including Questlove and Run the Jewels' El-P have paid tribute to the pioneering rapper

Mark “Prince Markie Dee” Morales of pioneering hip-hop group Fat Boys has died at the age of 52.

The news was confirmed on social media earlier today by Dee’s longtime friend and colleague Louis Gregory. No cause of death has been announced.

“Forever in my Heart. Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper; he was one of my very best and closest friends. My heart breaks today because I lost a brother,” Gregory wrote on Twitter.

“I’ll always love you Mark and I’ll cherish everything you taught me. Tomorrow is your birthday, swing my way big bro.”

Dee was one-third of Fat Boys alongside Damon “Kool Rock-Ski” Wimbley and Darren “Buff Love” Robinson, with the trio emerging out of Brooklyn in the mid-1980s.

Known for their implementation of beatboxing, the group’s first two albums – 1984’s ‘Fat Boys’ and 1985’s ‘The Fat Boys Are Back’ – were recorded with legendary rapper, songwriter and producer Kurtis Blow.

Dee would go on to release six full-length albums as part of the group. Their fourth album, 1987’s ‘Crushin”, produced their biggest hit with ‘Wipeout’. Featuring backing vocals by the Beach Boys, the single peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Dee left Fat Boys in the early 1990s and released two solo albums, ‘Free’ in 1992 and ‘Love Daddy’ in 1995. He also worked as a writer and producer for the likes of Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige, including the latter’s 1992 hit ‘Real Love’.

In his later years, Dee would work as a radio host for stations WMIB and WEDR, along with SiriusXM’s Rock the Bells channel.

Rock the Bells issued a statement on Dee’s death earlier today, writing, “The Rock The Bells family is heartbroken to learn of the passing of Mark “Prince Markie Dee” Morales earlier today. That voice and his presence can never be replaced. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones”

Dee’s former bandmate, “Buff Love” Robinson, died of a heart attack in 1995.

Multiple artists have paid tribute to Dee following news of his death including Questlove and Run the Jewels‘ El-P.

See tributes to Dee below.

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