Idris "StarChile" O'Ferrall, a veteran fixture of the Portland hip-hop scene, has died, his father confirmed today on Facebook. He was 42 years old.
O'Ferrall had been diagnosed with CNS lymphoma, a form of brain cancer, just last month.
Starting out as a rapper, O'Ferrall, a Portland native, assumed numerous roles in the city's hip-hop scene beginning in the late '90s as a student at Wilson High School. He went on to run his own label and host radio and TV shows. He eventually got into concert promotion and event hosting, almost by chance.
"A friend of mine, who was working for Brand Jordan at the time, she was like, 'Yo, we're doing this tour, and the MC we have is trash,'" he told WW in 2016. "'They're killing him on the website and the blogs, so we're going to fly you out to Cleveland and have you host the event, and if you're good, then we'll keep you on the tour.' I told her, 'You might as well book my flights now, because I'm not going to waste this opportunity.'"
In 2015, O'Ferrall and others partnered with then-Mayor Charlie Hales to help create Portland Hip-Hop Day, a now-annual event bringing rappers to perform on the steps of City Hall every October. Two years ago, he helped hip-hop break through at another unlikely venue, McMenamins folk den White Eagle Saloon in North Portland, with the monthly Mic Check series.
"Most of the stuff going on in my life I could not have imagined, whether it was me or anybody else," he said in 2016. "But that shows you there's been some progress. We've got a long way to go, but you can't say there hasn't been any progress."
In the wake of his March diagnosis, O'Ferrall's friend, fellow Portland hip-hop mainstay David "DJ OG One" Jackson, set up a crowdfunding campaign to assist with his medical bills. It raised $9,500 in eight days.
As news of his passing spread Thursday afternoon, the hip-hop community both in and out of Portland shared messages of grief and remembrance on social media.