Hip-hop has lost one of its most iconic members with the passing of Geto Boys’ MC Richard Stephen Shaw, best known by his stage-name Bushwick Bill. He had recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which offers a very grim prognosis. While there was initially some confusion with conflicting reports that the rapper was dead or was fighting for his life being released on Sunday, his reps have confirmed to Rolling Stone:
“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.”
Bushwick Bill was 52 years old. According to TMZ, his son Javon said the rappers final words were “I will love you forever.”
Following the announcement of his cancer diagnosis in May, Shaw promised to fight the disease and continue to perform with the Geto Boys. A tour was announced, dubbed The Beginning of a Long Goodbye: The Final Farewell Tour. That tour was intended to take place at the end of May.
Before that tour could take place however, Bushwick Bill and Geto Boys cancelled it. They cited concerns that the recent cancer diagnosis was being exploited by promoters, essentially writing Bushwick Bill off as a dead man and hyping the shows as the last chance to see the influential rapper perform. Bushwick Bill also took issue at the billing of the tour as a “reunion” of the Geto Boys instead of a “Bushwick and Friends” tour as he had originally envisioned. Bushwick Bill was scheduled to perform on Saturday in Dallas, which he was unable to meet due to his hospitalization (which subsequently set off premature rumors of his death).
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat