Kangol Kid, a member of the legendary hip-hop group UTFO known for creating the battle rap craze with their hit “Roxanne, Roxanne”, has passed away after a battle with colon cancer. He was 55.
The family of Kangol Kid (real name Shaun Shiller Fequiere) said in a statement that he died peacefully around 3 a.m. Saturday at a hospital in Manhasset, New York. He was diagnosed with cancer in February.
Kid was known for often sporting the popular Kangol headwear and being a member of UTFO, which stands for Untouchable Force Organization. The four-member group was known for 1980s hits including “Roxanne, Roxanne” and “Ya Cold Wanna Be With Me.” One of his beloved newsboy-style Kangol hats is included in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“My group was the first rap group to ever have an R&B ballad perform on the charts,” he told the Colorectal Cancer Alliance in April. “It made every fan of rap and every rapper go, ‘Hold up, you can do that?’
He documented his health struggles on his Instagram page, posting photos of himself in his hospital bed visiting with his family and friends.
“Please forgive me for not returning calls and more,” he wrote. “Things have become, and are becoming a little more difficult than imagined. I’ve been admitted again for complications related to my condition. Thank you to those who have been instrumental in my latest ordeal. Your actions have been well received and greatly appreciated. I am blessed to have you by my side through this. I love you all. ~Kang. #kangolkid #kangol #utfo #roxanneroxanne #fuckcancer.”
He also posted a picture of the fluid that had to be drained from his stomach due to the disease.
“Just one of the many phases I have to go through as they prepare me for the fight of my life,” he wrote. “Continue to pray for me to become more relentless than this cancer. Thank you friends, family, fans and followers.”
Just before December, Kangol shared an Instagram photo of himself in a hospital bed shaking hands with the G.O.A.T., LL COOL J. Judging by the smile on Kangol’s face, it was a moment he truly cherished.
“NEED I SAY MORE????” he wrote in the caption. “I stepped out of the recovery-room…and was greeted by this guy. Maybe you’ve heard of him??? Ladies and Gentlemen, the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. G.O.A.T. himself L.L.COOL J @llcoolj @rockthebells visited me and elevated my healing energies in ways doctors can never duplicate. Thank you Baby Bro. I love you man.”
LL sampled the U.T.F.O. single “Leader Of The Pack” for his 1987 song “Get Down” from his sophomore album Bigger and Deffer.
Both artists also came up around the same time. LL COOL J dropped his inaugural album in 1985, while U.T.F.O. released their self-titled debut that same year.
Kangol’s death once again brings to light the colon cancer disparities amongst Black men.
Despite an overall decline in colorectal cancer cases and deaths over the past several decades, Black men and women are still more likely to get the disease and more likely to die from it than people in any other racial group.
In addition to getting screened and learning your family history, there are healthy choices that can help reduce your risk for colorectal and other chronic diseases. These include:
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a plant-based diet