By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS
RAFU ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Disc jockey Hideo Sugano, who under the name DJ Hideo spun at the forefront of the Los Angeles hip-hop scene for more than a decade, died April 24 from complications of cancer. The L.A. native was 42.
Sugano, who was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in February 2009, kept fans informed on the progress of his treatment, posting regular updates on his Web site. His last entry was early on April 24, when he wrote that he had checked back into Mission Hospital in Orange County, “Because of the weakness that I’ve been feeling for the past week. My vitals are stable and now need the assistance of a ventilator to breathe. I’m very aware of my condition and communicate in writing.”
At the end of the entry, he added, “Right now, the one thing I really do miss is drinking a nice ice cold soda.”
Sugano launched his Web site, DJHideo.com, soon after his diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer, which had by that time spread to his liver. He called the test results “The last thing I could have imagined.” He posted information about the progressing stages of his treatment, including the huge amounts of solutions he had to drink to flush his system, descriptions of wheeling around an intravenous bag stand and how much he appreciated the efforts of the medical staff.
Through his updates, he kept a positive outlook, adopting the motto, “Live Life.”
Sugano’s father, Tony, told the Rafu this week that although his son was very ill, his death was entirely unexpected.
“The doctors were going to try some additional chemotherapy, but he was feeling so weak that he couldn’t continue,” he said. “His brother took him into the hospital on [April 13] for a blood transfusion, and he suddenly collapsed.”
Mr. Sugano said that his son was in intense pain and became unable to speak after being put on a ventilator, but that he communicated by writing notes.
“It looked like he would pull through,” his father explained, “But as he got worse, he really showed us how to live each day and remember that life is precious.”
Friend and fellow jockey DJ K-Sly reported on her Twitter page that she was with Sugano in the hospital a day before he died, and that he was in severe pain, asked doctors not to resuscitate him when he goes and not to allow visitors.
His father said later that evening, Sugano told him that he was “ready to go,” and would be able to wait until the other family members arrived.
Sugano’s Web Site reported that he died peacefully at 3:22 p.m., surrounded by his family.
Widely called the “Hardest Working DJ on the West Coast,” DJ Hideo launched his career from the studios of local radio station 100.3 the Beat, where he served as the disc jockey for hit programs such as the Steve Harvey Show and John Salley’s Block Party. He added appearances on “Saturday Night Live” and with some of rap and hip-hop’s biggest stars, including Cypress Hill, Coolio and Ludacris.
As one of the artists at the forefront of the DJ community party scene that became known as the West Coast Movement, he hosted a satellite radio program that showcased local jockey talent and was part of the production team behind the 2007 documentary “California Roll,” a look into the fast-paced Asian American club scene.
DJ Hideo was also an influential force in Japan, as he made several trips to perform there, after having attended junior high school in his father’s homeland.
Last August, Sugano took part in a fundraising concert at Oiwake Restaurant in Little Tokyo, held to benefit the Budokan recreation center as well as to help cover his own medical costs.
In addition to his father, Sugano is survived by his mother, Beverly, brother Tony Jr. and sister Julianna, and his daughter, Danielle.
“Of course I’m saddened,” said Mr. Sugano, “but we were able to communicate to the very end, and he showed us the meaning and importance of family. His determination was so strong.”
A memorial service for Hideo Sugano will be held at 4 p.m. this Saturday, May 8, at the World Peace Ikeda Auditorium, 525 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. The announcement on DJHideo.com, in his usual, all-inclusive tone, is headed with “See you there…”