Athens rapper Versatyle tha Wildchyld died in his sleep Sunday night, friends of the popular musician and activist confirmed tonight.
Versatyle (real name Anthony Bernard Little) had been in poor health for some time, but his death was unexpected, according to friends.
He was a fixture on the local hip-hop scene for many years. He was part of the socially conscious Dreaded Mindz collective and more recently had formed his own clique of younger artists, The Wild Wolf Pack. Flagpole ran a three-part series on Little's life and career in 2014.
Tommy Valentine, a former hip-hop artist and promoter and now District 9 commission candidate, said he met Little as a junior at Cedar Shoals High School.
"For years now, he's been telling me he only had a few months to live," Valentine said. "I guess I had been hoping he was exaggerating. Hard to believe it's real."
Little was also active politically, volunteering in schools, working with the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement and speaking out about issues facing the African-American community. Sunday, he attended Tim Denson's Athens-Clarke County Commission District 5 campaign kickoff at Bishop Park.
"His health had been deteriorating, but I didn't expect this," Denson said. "[I] talked and made plans with him for later this week."
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Hip-hop promoters and AADM co-founders Mokah and Knowa Johnson are working with Denson and Valentine to organize a fundraiser for Little's family.
Flagpole will post further details when they become available.