Bushwick Bill, a founding member of the Houston rap group Geto Boys, has died at age 52.
Bill’s publicist, who was identified only as Dawn P., told the Associated Press that the pioneering rapper died at a Colorado hospital Sunday at 9:35 local time, surrounded by family.
Earlier in the day, the publicist was disputing reports the rapper had succumbed to cancer, saying he had been placed on a ventilator as loved ones raced to his side.
Bill, whose legal name was Richard Shaw, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in February, according to his Dallas-based business manager, Pete Marrero.
The Jamaica native shared his diagnosis with his fans early May, writing on Instagram, “I’m going to fight this cancer. And with your support and prayers, I’m gonna beat it too.”
On May 27, he shared a picture of himself lying in a hospital bed and revealed that he was suffering from complications after undergoing chemotherapy treatments, including pneumonia, an infection in his lung and a possible infection in his blood.
Bill was an original member of iconic Houston rap group the Geto Boys, alongside Willie D and Scarface. He was widely reported to have died Sunday morning after Scarface wrote “RIP Bushwick Bill…,” on an Instagram post. (The post was soon deleted.)
Fellow bandmate Willie D also fanned the flames by sharing pictures of the group on Instagram Sunday. He captioned the images, “This is Geto Boys for life.”
After the early social media posts, one of Bill’s children refuted death reports on the rapper’s official Instagram account.
“Contrary to what has been prematurely, insensitively, and inaccurately posted/reported – My dad IS NOT dead, he’s still alive and fighting for his life. He needs your continued prayers and support. Certain people have been so quick to write him off as dead so they can capitalize off it, and it’s messed up because yall really think these people care about him. There is no Geto Boys without Bushwick Bill,” the message read.
Bill’s death comes a day after he was scheduled to launch a tour in Dallas.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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