Rapper, radio personality and producer Prince Markie Dee, real name Mark Morales, passed away a day before his 53rd birthday. His cause of death is not known.
Dee's friend, Louis Gregory, confirmed the sad news via Twitter on Thursday, hours after Morales death.
"Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper; he was one of my very best and closest friends," Gregory wrote. "My heart breaks today because I lost a brother. I'll always love you Mark and I'll cherish everything you taught me. Tomorrow is your birthday, swing my way big bro."
SiriusXM's Rock the Bells, where Dee hosted a daily show, also tweeted a tribute: "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."
Born in Miami, Dee (center) formed The Fat Boys, originally named Disco 3, with Brooklyn, New York natives, Darren "Buff Love" Robinson (left), aka "The Human Beat Box", and Damon "Kool Rock-Ski" Wimbley (right), in the early 1980s.
The group released seven studio albums and enjoyed hits with songs like "Wipeout", which was recorded with The Beach Boys.
Dee left The Fat Boys in the early 1990s and released two solo albums, while working as a songwriter and producer for Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige.
"Typical Reasons (Swing My Way)" was the second single off Dee's first solo album after leaving Fat Boys. It topped the Rap Songs Chart in 1993.
Dee was once engaged to Sandra "Pepa" Denton, of Salt-N-Pepa in the mid-1980s. He did not have any children.
Chuck D and Juicy J were among the first hip-hop stars to pay tribute on Thursday evening, after the news of Dee's death broke.
The Public Enemy leader wrote: "Man... such a good dude a @hiphopgods legend," while Juicy J added: "Wow I did a zoom interview with the legend a month ago R.I.P. Prince Markie Dee of The Fat Boys."