Photo from December by Stacie Joy
According to friends, Billy Miller, a longtime East Village resident, better known as Billy the Artist, died last night.
His friend, the artist Gregory de la Haba, posted this tribute on Instagram:
With heavy heart, the legendary New Yorker, Billy The Artist (William Miller) died peacefully in his sleep last evening at Beth Israel Hospital after succumbing to the ravages of cancer.
He was a tremendous light in my life and always made me smile from ear to ear. He was "Pura Vida" whose art adorned products worldwide from Swatch to Nescafé. His first big gig was to paint panels for the broadway stage of RENT that captured the energy and vibrancy of the East Village, the place he called home for the last 30 years. Collector Steve Cohen recently purchased one of his famous cows and musician John Baptiste enjoyed playing his custom piano. His entire life was dedicated to art. And in sharing in the love.
Rest in peace, my beautiful, beautiful friend.
We'll update you when more information on his passing becomes available.
Billy had created several books in the past two years, most recently last month with "East Village Closed" — a photo illustrative experience of life in the East Village during the pandemic as seen through Billy's eyes.
Billy loved the East Village, where he found the love and inspiration for his work. He will be missed.
There will be a celebration of Billy's life on Feb. 20 at the Long Pour, 155 Second Ave. between Ninth Street and 10th Street at 3 p.m. Details here.