Mark “Prince Markie Dee” Morales, of the seminal hip hop group, The Fat Boys, has passed away. Aged 52.

Born Mark Anthony Morales on February 19th, 1968, Dee carved out his legacy on the hip hop scene with fellow Brooklynites Darren Robinson (The Human Beat Box) and Damon Wimbley (Kool Rock Ski) together, they formed the Fat Boys.

The Fat Boys are regarded as beatboxing pioneers, and often linked to the hip hop acts from the Golden Age of Hip Hop. The trio released a slew of beloved singles like ‘Jailhouse Rap’, ‘Can You Feel It’ and covers of tracks like ‘Wipeout’ and ‘The Twist.’

Following the dissolution of The Fat Boys, Dee went on to release two solo records 1992’s Free, which spawned the number 1 single ‘Typical Reasons (Swing My Way)’, and 1995’s Love Daddy. 

His presence can also be felt on songs he produced and wrote for the likes of Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, Frank Ocean, and more.

Details surrounding the beloved artists’ death remain undisclosed. Dee’s death was confirmed by longtime friend, Louis Gregory. No cause of death has been revealed.

Check out ‘Fat Boys’ by Fat Boys:

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

Over the last few hours, fellow musicians and admirers have banded together to pay tribute to the late musician on social media.

Radio station Rock The Bells, where Prince Markie Dee cut his teeth as a radio host and DJ, tweeted their condolences “The Rock The Bells family is heartbroken to learn of the passing of Mark ‘Prince Markie Dee’ Morales earlier today,” the statement wrote. “That voice and his presence can never be replaced. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”

In a post shared to Instagram, The Roots musician penned a lengthy tribute to Prince Markie Dee and the profound impact that The Fat Boys had on music. Sharing footage of a 1984 performance from the band, Questlove wrote “I wanted to leave this electrifying clip of the Fat Boys to show you how mind-blowing this trio was when they came out in 1984.”

“I mean yeah now we all take for granted that traditional music really isn’t needed to cold rock a party. But to see THESE cats rock it back then???! OMG! they were the first stadium hip hop headliners,” he continued.

“They were figuratively (no weight jokes) the biggest act in hip hop at some point in time. Like the first act that showed this culture might have some real international legs to it.

“Like they were so dope we just took them for granted. They did dope routines & dancesteps, albums went gold & platinum. Did movies & tv & commercials. They explored territories for the first time that today just seems like *yawn* a Tuesday.”

Check out ‘Typical Reason (Swing My Way)’ by Prince Markie Dee:

Click to play videoPlay