Big Joe was born Joseph Antonio Cartagena on August 19, 1970 in The Bronx, New York. He is of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent.
Fat Joe's best friend was Big Pun (born Christopher Lee Rios on November 9, 1971 in Bronx, New York), also known as the Latin rapper.
The two are not brothers, though Fat Joe referred to Pun as his twinsito.
Big Pun died of a heart attack on February 7, 2000, weighing an astonishing 698 pounds at the time of his death. He is survived by four sisters (Piña, Nicole, Nyree, and Christine), his wife (Liza Rios), and three children (Amanda, Vanessa, and Christopher).
His son Christopher is following in his father's footsteps, taking the name Baby Pun.