Bushwick Bill has lost his battle with cancer.
A core member of the Geto Boys, Bill “passed away peacefully this evening at 9:35 p.m,” reads a statement issued Sunday by the late rapper’s publicist. “His family appreciates all of the prayers and support and are asking for privacy at this time.” He was 52.
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 Bill as his situation worsened and, in recent days, his reps confirmed he was on a ventilator at a Colorado hospital.
Earlier, uncorroborated reports that Bill had passed away Sunday morning were incorrect, the rapper’s publicist Dawn P. told Rolling Stone. “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 official statement continues.
Bill, born Richard Shaw in Kingston, Jamaica, 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 titles 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.
Bill was said to be working on three albums, which he hoped would generate residual income for his survivors.
Former band mate DJ Ready Red passed away in 2018 due to a heart attack at the age of 53.