Robin Marchant/Getty Images

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."

Ebet Roberts/Redferns

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."

Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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."
 

WENN

Busta Rhymes paid tribute to his late friend and collaborator MF DOOM as "a God MC and incredible human being".

The rap legend - whose real name was Daniel Dumile - passed away on October 31, according to a statement by his wife Jasmine on December 31.

DOOM, aka Zev Love X, Metalface and King Geedorah, worked with Busta frequently since their 1991 track "Nitty Gritty Remix" with the former's group KMD.

Busta admitted he is struggling to come to terms with the devastating loss of the beloved rapper - who was just 49.

Alongside a video of their 2016 track "In The Streets" - which also featured The Chicago Kid - Busta began his lengthy post on Instagram: "Rest easy on levels that words can't describe @MFDOOM."

He continued:

"It has taken me days to come terms with this enough to type about it and I still can't believe it or come to terms with it. I'm completely f**ked up by the loss of this God MC & incredible human being!! Over 30 years of friendship & brotherhood almighty!! I wanted to believe this was another elaborate scheme by the great Whodini MF DOOM himself but this time I have received the confirmations that it wasn't."

On DOOM's legacy, Busta added: "This has meant something to our culture that no other MC has because he figured out something that none of us before him and that was to be completely free!!!"

Photo may have been deleted

Press handout

DOOM suffered a devastating loss when his beloved 14-year-old son died of unknown causes. The rapper announced his son's death on Dec. 18, 2017.

"KING MALACHI EZEKIEL DUMILE 2/22/03 – 12/18/17 The greatest son one could ask for. Safe journey and may all our ancestors greet you with open arms. One of our greatest inspirations. ‘Thank you for allowing us to be your parents. Love you, Mali."

Photo may have been deleted

Instagram

Doom also lost his brother Dingilizwe Dumile, aka KMD's DJ Subroc, who was killed as he crossed a busy highway in New York in 1993.

KMD was dropped from the record label the same week Subroc died.

KMD was best known for their bubblegum rap song "Peachfuzz," featuring 3rd Bass and Grand Puba on the xylophone.

 

Scott Gries/Getty Images

Hip hop legend Doctor Dre opened up about losing his eyesight and a big toe in his battle with type 2 diabetes. Andre "Doctor Dre" Brown, pictured left, is best known for co-hosting television's Yo! MTV Raps with radio personality Ed Lover, right, in the 1980s. They are both pictured with Yo! MTV Raps weekend host Fab 5 Freddy, center.

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Dre was tapped by MTV producer Ted Demme, center, to co-host a weekday version of the wildly popular Yo! MTV Raps weekend show. Dre was paired with Ed Lover, and the rest is hip hop history.

Dre, of Long Island, sat down with ABC7 NY to discuss his battle with diabetes type 2, and working as a DJ, composer, talent scout, program host, actor, and book author.

Dre said he didn't take his health and obesity seriously until he was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 in the early 2000s. He underwent weight loss surgery to improve his health and mobility.

Dre is not totally blind, but he is legally blind due to the ravaging effects of diabetes on the ocular (eye) nerves and retinas.

Dre said he is working with an organization to raise awareness of diabetes and to encourage Black men to take an interest in their health.

Diabetes type 2 occurs when the body is resistant to insulin or does not produce enough insulin to push sugar (glucose) into the cells where it is burned for energy.

People who suffer from type 2 diabetes usually seek treatment because they feel hungry or thirsty all the time, are overweight, have blurred vision, and are easily fatigued (tired).

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are potentially fatal if not treated early. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is reversible with medications, proper diet and exercise.

"Diabetes is treatable [and] you can reverse the effects of it," said Dre. "You got to stay on top [of your health], and first thing I want to say is drink water! Drink water."
 

Super Bowl 49 halftime

I confess, I missed the over-hyped Super Bowl 49 yesterday. So I missed singers Katy Perry and Missy Elliott's much ballyhooed halftime performance that had all of social media in a frenzy. After scanning the tweets on Twitter.com, I noticed that most of the social media platform's users had no clue who Missy Elliott was.

Read more »

Rozonda Thomas and Tionne Watkins at Huffington Post

Rozonda Thomas, right, and Tionne Watkins, also known as Chilli and T-Boz of the group TLC, are on a mission to record what they call the last and final album of their careers. The ladies stopped by the Huffington Post offices in NYC to promote their new Kickstarter campaign to beg for money to make their last and final album a reality.

Read more »

E Class The Game Jackie O

While perusing my comments section last week I stumbled upon a discussion about former record exec E-Class and former Miami rapper Jacki O. E-Class is the formidable looking gentleman in this photo with rapper The Game at STORY's Halloween bash last week.

Read more »

Will Smith and Jimmy Fallon

Popular late night comedian Jimmy Fallon is the new host of The Tonight Show. Fallon took over the reigns of The Tonight Show following NBC's announcement last Spring that Leno would leave The Tonight Show. Fallon has a healthy respect for Hip Hop, as evidenced by his hilarious "Evolution of Hip Hop Dance" skit with Will Smith on Monday.

Smith and Fallon performed many of the familiar dance moves that have (thankfully) come and gone, such as my personal favorite "The Carlton Dance," named after Carlton, from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Read more »