According to Rolling Stone, Geto Boys member Bushwick Bill—born Richard Shaw—has died. Bill had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February and had been undergoing “intensive chemotherapy” right up until his death. Bill was 52.
“Bushwick Bill passed away peacefully this evening at 9:35 p.m. He was surrounded by his immediate family,” 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.”
Bushwick Bill originally joined the legendary Houston rap group as a dancer, using the name “Little Billy,” alongside DJ Ready Red and Prince Johnny C after original founding members Raheem and Sir Rap-A-Lot left. After the Geto Boy’s debut album Making Trouble flopped, another new lineup was formed with Scarface and Willie D. That version of Geto Boys released Grip It! On That Other Level in 1989 and a self-titled album in 1990 that caused some behind-the-scenes label drama over the group’s lyrics—which were known to touch on extremely dark themes and laid the groundwork for horrorcore rap.
In 1991, Bushwick Bill shot out his own eye with a gun during an argument with his girlfriend, with Geto Boys memorializing the incident with a graphic photo of Scarface and Willie D pushing a bloody Bill on a hospital stretcher on the cover art for the 1991 album We Can’t Be Stopped. Bill released the first of six solo albums shortly after that, 1992's Little Big Man, with his final solo album being 2010's My Testimony Of Redemption. In May of this year, Geto Boys announced a small series of tour dates with Scarface, Bushwick Bill, and Willie D, with some of the proceeds going to pancreatic cancer awareness, but Pitchfork says that Bill backed out over the decision to name the tour “The Beginning Of A Long Goodbye: The Final Farewell”—which he reportedly took as an implication that he was “on his deathbed.”
In August of last year, Geto Boys founding member DJ Ready Red died from an apparent heart attack.