On the morning of Saturday, December 19, 2015, the city of Chicago, hip hop community and world of music lovers at large lost one of its brightest stars. Timothy “DJ Timbuck2” Jones, passed away from cancer-related complications. The beloved radio show host was only 34.
Introduced to the art of DJ’ing and mentored by Grammy-nominated producer The Twilite Tone, Timbuck2 was a staple of the Chicago music scene, holding down his daily “drive time” mix on 107.5 WGCI during the 5 o’clock hour.
Many were shocked to learn of Timbuck2’s cancer, a diagnosis he kept closely guarded for more than a year. In a recently released open letter written shortly before his passing, he shares about the day that forever changed his life and offers a powerful testimony about the importance to seeking medical help, especially for men.
In his letter, he takes us back to November 18, 2014. “Prior to that day I spent most of the summer sick. I lost close to 30 pounds, started suffering from all kinds of sickness. At the same time, I had no idea why. I also, like most men, I refused to go to the doctor. As the season progressed, so did my illness. By November, I was forced to be hospitalized due to severity of some of them.”
Surrounded by his parents in a hospital room, the doctor delivered the news that, “We have results from the last test we ran and I’m sorry Timothy but you have stage 4 renal cancer.”
Timbuck2’s reaction was shock: “What the F is cancer?” He writes, “Honestly, I knew what it was on base level but was clueless as to the details and severity.”
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), also called renal cell cancer, is a common type of kidney cancer. It usually begins as a tumor growth on one of your kidneys and is more common in men than women. According to the American Cancer Society, stage IV kidney cancer – the most common form – means that the cancer has grown outside of the kidney or it has spread to other parts of the body such as distant lymph nodes or other organs.
Although the exact cause of renal cancer is unknown, there are several risk factors, including family history of kidney cancer and smoking. African Americans are also at slightly higher risk. Timbuck2 was 67 weeks smoke-free at the time of his diagnosis.