Bushwick Bill of Geto Boys has died following a battle with stage four pancreatic cancer. He was 52.
The rapper’s publicist issued a statement on Sunday saying he “passed away peacefully this evening at 9.35pm… His family appreciates all of the prayers and support and are asking for privacy at this time.” Bill’s team “are looking into doing a public memorial at a later date,” the statement notes.
Bill’s cancer diagnosis was revealed in February, and last month the rapper told TMZ he was undergoing intensive chemotherapy. Premature reports of his death had actually circulated earlier in the day on Sunday; Geto Boys member Scarface also suggested Bill had died in a now-deleted Instagram post. Bill’s family and publicist made statements refuting those premature reports.
“Contrary to what has been prematurely, insensitively and inaccurately posted/reported—my dad IS NOT dead, he’s still alive and fighting for his life. He needs your continued prayers and support,” one of Bill’s children had written in a post on his official Instagram account. “Certain people have been so quick to write him off as dead so they can capitalize off it, and it’s messed up because y’all really think these people care about him. There is no Geto Boys without Bushwick Bill.”
Bill—real name Richard Shaw—was born with dwarfism in Kingston, Jamaica. He joined Geto Boys in 1986 first as a dancer, but later rapped on the Houston group’s debut album Making Trouble. Bill, Scarface, Willie D and DJ Ready Red were the best-known formation of the Geto Boys, and the line-up behind the classic horrorcore albums Grip it! On That Other Level (1989) and We Can’t Be Stopped (1991). Bill also released six solo albums over the course of his career.
RIP, Bushwick Bill. Revisit Grip it! On That Other Level, which marked its 30th anniversary in March this year: