UTFO rapper dies at 55 after colon cancer battle

December 19, 2021
Kangol Kid, seen at a 2012 American Cancer Society Pink & Black Tie Gala in 2012, has died of colon cancer. He was 55.
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Kangol Kid, a member of the legendary hip-hop group UTFO, has died 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?’  

“Anything I did for the first time, it was the first time it was ever done in hip hop,” he said. “I’ve been changing the look of hip hop the entire time, and I have no problem changing it again. … The new look for hip hop and cancer is to go get yourself checked out before it happens.” 

He documented his mounting health struggles on his verified Instagram page, posting photos of himself in his hospital bed visiting with his family and famous friends. He wrote in October, “Make no mistake about it, this fight just got realer than I ever imagined. Without details, my situation has escalated. Your once upon a time superhero is depleting daily. … I am taking a break from my career. My professional team has been instructed to focus ONLY on my legacy. … Thank you for loving me through this.”

Along with his hip-hop success, Kid became recognized for his efforts against breast cancer through the Mama Luke Foundation. Following his diagnosis, he had spoken publicly about the need for regular screening.

Contributing: Kim Willis, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press



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