In October, Hicks taped a performance for David Letterman that became one of his most infamous moments. Returning to his hotel following the early evening taping, Bill was told that censors had cut his segment. In a 39-page letter to John Lahr of The New Yorker, Bill expressed his frustration. He had reason to be enraged; the set had been approved (twice!) by the powers that be. It would’ve been his last television appearance. The set was finally aired on January 30, 2009 when Letterman had Bill's mother as that night's Late Show guest. Bill's last live gig was on January 6, 1994 at Caroline’s in New York City – he did not complete the series of shows.
Despite his illness, Bill was at peace. He spent time with his parents, playing them the music he loved and showing them documentaries about his interests. He called friends to say goodbye and re-read J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Fellowship Of The Ring.
On February 7th, 1994, Bill wrote his last words to the world:
I was born William Melvin Hicks on December 16, 1961 in Valdosta, Georgia. Ugh. Melvin Hicks from Georgia. Yee Har! I already had gotten off to life on the wrong foot. I was always “awake,” I guess you’d say. Some part of me clamoring for new insights and new ways to make the world a better place.
All of this came out years down the line, in my multitude of creative interests that are the tools I now bring to the Party. Writing, acting, music, comedy. A deep love of literature and books. Thank God for all the artists who’ve helped me. I’d read these words and off I went – dreaming my own imaginative dreams. Exercising them at will, eventually to form bands, comedy, more bands, movies,anything creative. This is the coin of the realm I use in my words – Vision.
On June 16, 1993 I was diagnosed with having “liver cancer that had spread from the pancreas.” One of life’s weirdest and worst jokes imaginable. I’d been making such progress recently in my attitude, my career and realizing my dreams that it just stood me on my head for a while. “Why me!?” I would cry out, and “Why now!?”
Well, I know now there may never be any answers to those particular questions, but maybe in telling a little about myself, we can find some other answers to other questions. That might help our way down our own particular paths, towards realizing my dream of New Hope and New Happiness. Amen.
I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit.
On Saturday, February 26th, 1994, Bill died. He was 32.