Pop Hopeful Billy Clayton Dies of Bone Cancer at 22

Courtesy of Billy Clayton
Billy Clayton

Last year, Charli XCX, Dorian Electra & Allie X hosted The Billy Ball, a benefit concert to raise money to help Clayton fight his illness and raise awareness of Ewing’s Sarcoma.

It was announced via Twitter on Thursday (March 28) that Billy Clayton, the 22-year-old pop singer and protégé of Charli XCX, died on Tuesday. The singer was suffering from an aggressive form of bone cancer known as Ewing’s Sarcoma, which made it difficult for him to sing toward the end of his life.

In a note posted on his Twitter account, Clayton’s mother Becky Clayton said the singer died peacefully in his home on Tuesday evening. “He held on for so long and had more strength than anyone could ever imagine,” she wrote. “But his body would no longer allow him to live the life he desperately wished for and his soul needed to escape to be free.”

Clayton’s mother noted that Billy never was able to make it to Los Angeles, where he had been determined to go and pursue a full-time music career. But she thanked all of his fans and supporters for their constant love and affection. “I was honoured to be Billy’s mum and will be forever and ever again, next time round,” she wrote. “Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us, your love means so much.”

Over the course of his short career, Clayton put out EPs titled Luminary and Bloom, while his latest effort was "Fear," a beautiful and haunting track about the star's inherent fear of dying before he made it as a singer, while ultimately rejecting his scared feelings in place of confidence.

Just last year, Charli XCX, Dorian Electra and Allie X hosted and performed at The Billy Ball, a benefit concert intent on raising money to help Clayton fight his illness and to raise awareness of Ewing’s Sarcoma. Artists like Vincint, Daya, Bronze Avery, Carlie Hanson, Zolita and more also performed at the event.

In an interview with Billboard last December, Clayton said he would continue pursuing his dreams of becoming a pop singer no matter what happened with his illness. “I do this because I believe it’s what I’m meant to be doing,” Clayton said. “The drive is from a place of enjoyment, excitement, passion and generally the need to be a creative individual.”

A number of stars posted messages of remembrance on social media in honor of the late singer, including Jesse Saint John, Leland and Allie X. “Billy Clayton you couldn’t have fought harder. Rest in Power beautiful boy,” Allie wrote.

Read Becky Clayton’s full statement and see a few early artist reactions below: