Bushwick Bill, founder of legendary rap group The Geto Boys, is battling stage 4 cancer of the pancreas. The 52-year-old told TMZ that he was diagnosed in February, after doctors found a mass on his pancreas that they initially believed was benign (non-cancerous).
Bill, real name Richard Stephen Shaw, is currently undergoing intensive chemotherapy, but it's too early to tell how he's responding to treatment. Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest of all cancers. It is usually terminal, with patients given less than a year to live.
Stage 4 cancer, also known as metastatic cancer, is a cancer that has spread from the part of the body where it originally started (the primary site) to other parts of the body.
The Jamaican-born rapper said his fellow Geto Boys founders Scarface and Willie D didn't know about his diagnosis but he no longer wanted to keep it a secret and he is "not afraid of dying".
He added that he is in the process of recording three albums to provide for his children if he passes away.
The Geto Boys are best known for their 1991 hit single "Mind Playing Tricks on Me". Their explicit lyrics covering controversial topics, such as necrophilia, influenced later acts including Eminem, Nas, and Biggie Smalls.
Bill, who was born with dwarfism and stands 3 feet 8 inches tall, joined the group in 1986 as a dancer under the stage name Little Billy.
During the summer of 1991, Bill lost an eye when he shot himself during an argument with his girlfriend.
The graphic aftermath of the shooting was depicted on the cover of the Geto Boys album We Can't Be Stopped (1991), which shows Bill removing his eye bandage while being pushed through a hospital hallway on a gurney the night he was shot.
Bill explained his addiction to Everclear grain alcohol in his rap song "Ever So Clear". He also revealed his addiction to the street drug PCP, which he blamed for his temporary psychosis.
Photos by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images, Matt Cowan/Getty