Bushwick Bill (second left in the above photo), a member of the influential Texas rap outfit the Geto Boys, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 52.
Bill’s publicist confirmed that the rapper died on Sunday evening, 9 June. In May of this year, Bill went public about his stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis, for which he was receiving intensive chemotherapy treatments. Friends and fans rallied behind the rapper as his situation worsened and, in recent days, his reps confirmed he was on a ventilator at a Colorado hospital.
An official statement confirmed, “Bushwick Bill passed away peacefully this evening at 9:35 p.m. He was surrounded by his immediate family. There were incorrect previous reports that he had passed away this morning. We are looking into doing a public memorial at a later date. His family appreciates all of the prayers and support and are asking for privacy at this time.”
The much-loved rapper was born Richard Shaw in Kingston, Jamaica and got his start with the band in 1986, first as a dancer, when he was known as Little Billy.
Geto Boys (originally spelled Getto Boys) went on to land three hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including 1992’s ‘Mind Playing Tricks On Me,’ which reached No. 23. The iconic Houston, Texas outfit also placed seven albums on the Billboard 200, with Resurrection blasting to No. 6 in 1996.
When news broke of Bill’s acute health problems, the southern hip-hop pioneers hit the road on a string of concerts, dubbed ‘The Beginning of a Long Goodbye’, with a portion of proceeds going to support pancreatic cancer awareness.
Bushwick Bill was said to be working on three albums, which he hoped would generate residual income for his survivors. His Former band mate, DJ Ready Red, passed away in 2018 due to a heart attack at the age of 53.
Paying tribute, Three Six Mafia rapper Juicy J wrote on Twitter: “R.I.P. the Legend Bushwick Bill prayers up for his family.”
Cypress Hill added: “The family of Bushwick Bill has now confirmed that the Geto Boy has passed away. Rest In Peace.”