Many news outlets are reporting that rapper Bushwick Bill is dead. TMZ, which originally reported that the Geto Boys rapper had died at the age of 52, is now reporting that Bushwick Bill has not passed away.
“Bill’s publicist tells TMZ he is “still alive and fighting cancer” in a hospital,” TMZ stated in their update. “She says she spoke to hospital staff to confirm, and says some of Bill’s family members are by his hospital bedside right now. Others are on their way.”
Media publications such as Pitchfork and Complex piggybacked TMZ’s original report that Bushwick Bill was dead. The reports say that Bushwick Bill died from a “longtime battle with pancreatic cancer.”
On May 1, 2019, Bushwick Bill, whose birth name is Richard Stephen Shaw, gave an interview to TMZ where he announced his diagnosis. Shaw said doctors found a mass on his pancreas, which the original diagnosis was that it was benign. Then in February, doctors said that the mass was not benign and he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal types of cancer. Bushwick Bill began intense chemotherapy.
“It’s not like I’m afraid of dying,” Bill told TMZ. “It’s about life and living life and being there for family… I just want people to be aware so when they set dreams and goals they’re healthy to fulfill and live.”
Bushwick Bill didn’t tell his fellow Geto Boys rappers Willie D and Scarface about his cancer. “I been keeping it to myself, but I’m getting ready to tell Scarface and Willie D,” Bill said in the video. “I’ve only told close family members, that’s about it, but I figured keeping it to myself is not really helping nobody.”
Fellow Geto Boys rapper Scarface has posted Instagram photos that say Bushwick Bill has died. “RIP Bushwick Bill,” one Instagram post states. “You will be missed big fella,” another post reads.
Shaw was born in Kingston, Jamaica, grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and eventually made his way down south to Houston, Texas. Bushwick Bill, Scarface and Willie D started up the infamous Houston rap group Geto Boys in 1988. The southern rap pioneers created such hip-hop hits such as Mind Playing Tricks on Me, Crooked Officer, Six Feet Deep and The World Is a Ghetto. Shaw suffered from dwarfism his entire life and stands at 3 feet and 8 inches.