Hip hop legend recovered from lung infection, but suffered kidney failure
Scarface dropped a 10-word bombshell on social media this month.
“I need a kidney y’all any volunteers? B+ blood type” was the message on Oct. 7 from his @BrotherMob verified account on Twitter.
The news easily could have been overlooked. The plea was wedged between the previous day’s message to “my cousin Johnny Nash,” the native Houstonian composer and original performer of “I Can See Clearly Now” who died this month, and praise for Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris during her debate with Vice President Mike Pence – with a quip about the fly on his head.
The celebrated lyricist, whose real name is Brad Jordan, is an intensely private person who rarely grants interviews. But since March, he’s participated in two lengthy livestreamed discussions on YouTube with fellow Geto Boys member Willie D.
The first happened on March 26 after Jordan was hospitalized and diagnosed with COVID-19.
“It started off with pneumonia in both of my lungs, right, and three or four days later my kidneys failed,” he said in that interview, which followed three weeks of illness.
Jordan said he never had kidney issues before COVID-19, but had been managing asthma.
In a nearly hourlong livestream on April 22, Jordan appeared with a dialysis port on his chest.
“My kidneys failed, bro,” he said following another hospital stay. “I’ve got to do dialysis four days a week, three hours a day.”
Jordan, who turns 50 in November, talked about feeling like he was going to die.
“Hanging on this string of death, man, makes you really appreciate life,” he told Willie D. “I’m glad to be alive.”
The National Kidney Foundation reports that COVID-19 can cause acute kidney injury (AKI), a sudden loss of kidney function, in otherwise healthy adults.
“A new comprehensive report shows that people hospitalized with COVID-19 are at significant risk of AKI, which can lead to serious illness, dialysis, and even death. The study found patients with COVID-19, who were hospitalized between March 11 and April 26, were twice as likely to develop AKI as compared to non-COVID patients who developed AKI during the same time period in 2019 – 56.9% versus 25.1% respectively. AKI appears to be a marker of COVID-19 infection severity and the mortality rate is higher for these patients,” a Q&A about COVID-19 and kidney disease said.
Then came the Jordan’s online call for organ donors.
Two days later, the hip hop legend posted two more messages offering details:
“I’ve started the process to get a kidney transplant, I appreciate the love! it should take me 2-3 months to see if I’m a good candidate, in the meantime you stay healthy, the list will open shortly there after and we can discuss who’s a match.. again I appreciate that y’all..”
“Just found out blood type don’t matter if you are a donor they will match me with my kidney in exchange so anyone can be a donor, can’t thank y’all enough”
The posts received thousands of positive responses, hundreds of retweets and hundreds more responses of prayers and support.
Regarding the “list” and a “match”: If a person with kidney failure is determined to be a transplant candidate, they can be placed on the organ transplant waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the nonprofit that manages the country’s organ transplant system under contract from the U.S. government.
Alternatively, Jordan could receive a gift from a living donor through a directed donation or a paired exchange, which saves patients from long and uncertain waits.
A directed donation comes from a family member or friend who is a match. If there isn’t a match, two or more pairs of living donors can swap patients for compatible organs during simultaneous transplants.
An artist with a three-decade career who has remained popular with fans old and new, Scarface rose to mainstream consciousness in Houston last year when, as Brad Jordan, he ran for the Houston City Council District D open seat. His name recognition and media attention lifted him above a crowded field of more than a dozen candidates and into a runoff with eventual winner Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz.
A vegan for several years, he said he has switched back to an omnivorous diet.
Health challenges have rocked the Geto Boys’ classic trio in recent months.
Bushwick Bill, whose real name is Richard Shaw, died in June 2019 following a battle with late-stage pancreatic cancer. He was 52.