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Mark Anthony Morales, better known by his stage name Prince Markie Dee and a founding member of the iconic hip-hop trio The Fat Boys, passed away suddenly Thursday, a day shy of his birthday. He was 52.

His manager Louis Gregory confirmed the news in a statement via Twitter. The songwriter would have been 53 on Friday.

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

Part of the pioneering rap group that gained fame during the 1980s, the trio consisted of Prince Markie Dee, Darren “Buff Love” Robinson, and Damon “Kool Rock-Ski” Wimbley. They were most notably known for their 1987 album Crushin’, which went platinum, and their hit song from that album which featured The Beach Boys, Wipeout. The song peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

The Fat Boys’ success would span outside of their humble beginnings in Hollywood and reach Hollywood. They experience big-screen success starring in the comedy film Disorderlies. They also appeared in feature films Krush Groove (1985) and Knights of the City (1986). 

(L-R) Damon ‘Kool Rock Ski’ Wimbley, Darren ‘The Human Beat Box’ Robinson and Mark ‘Prince Markie Dee’ Morales (Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

The group would eventually break up, but Prince continued doing what he loved most — music. Writing and producing for some of the music industry’s largest names, Prince’s credits include Mariah Carey, Arian Grande, Drake, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Destiny’s Child, and Frank Ocean.

Prince even had a solo career after The Fat Boys, releasing his debut album Free in 1992, which featured a chart-topping single, Typical Reasons (Swing My Way).

He’s later continued working behind the mic but in radio, working as a host for Miami’s 103.5 The Beat WMIC before becoming a host and DJ at SiriusXM’s Rock the Bells.

Kool Rock-Ski is the only surviving member of the group. Buff Love passed away in 1995 of a heart attack. Prince Markie Dee’s cause of death is unknown.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.

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