DJ Hideo, 42, Succumbs to Cancer

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Hideo Sugano, shown at a benefit concert last August in Little Tokyo, passed away on April 24. He was a leader of the West Coast Movement.

By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS
RAFU ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

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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…”

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8 Comments

  1. Hideo was an amazing person and friend!!! No matter what was happening, especially this past year, he was always positive and thought of others. I’ll never forget him and will miss him dearly.

  2. Miyo Takahashi on

    Hideo was one of a kind, he was always there for us. I am truly lucky to call him “friend.” My condolence to Hideo’s family and to Dani. Rest in peace my friend!

  3. Jason Kusagaya on

    DJ Hideo taught us the true meaning of ‘life”. Live Life to the fullest. As an extraordinary disc jockey and truly a great friend to all, he will be missed.

  4. One of the most humble yet talented persons I’ve ever know. I was blessed to have been able to call him friend from his pre-DJ Hideo days till now. DJ Hideo…and the beat goes on…

  5. Barnaby Ohrstrom on

    As a longtime friend of Tony and Beverly Sugano and a fellow buddhist IIwas very saddened to hear of Hideo’s passing.Although I didn’t have the privilege of meeting him personally,I was able to speak with him on the phone and I think that he was very courageous and kind.Even though he unfortunately had to leave us,I truly believe that he never gave up and fought his illness up until the very last second of his life–many other people would have chose to load up with pain meds and taken the quick easy route.Hideo fought as hard and as long as he could and I believe that he demonstrated the amazing power of the Buddhism which is practiced in SGI-USA..

  6. marc sachnoff on

    Hideo performed on New Year’s eve 2010 for almost 1000 members of the SGI-USA Buddhist association of which he and his family are long time members. I think it only appropriate that his memorial be held in the same location where his music still echoes. His music and his spirit live on!

  7. He was an inspiration to me. I’ll never forget when he shouted us out on the radio before performing with him at Chillers in Redondo beach back in ’99. He paved the way for so many of us JA hip hop artists, and his teachings live within all of us. He always greeted me with a big smile at all the shows we were performing at. We miss you DJ Hideo.

  8. Hideo was always up and always up-beat, until the very last moments of his life. His courageous battle with his illness was a testament of his positivity and an inspiration to all. In the end, he “lived life” and gave life. I’ll miss you, buddy. Rest in peace.

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