Rapper Juice WRLD died of accidental drug overdose: Medical examiner
The rapper’s death shocked fans and prompted a debate about the opioid epidemic.
January 22, 2020, 10:52 PM
7 min read
Rapper Juice WRLD died due to an accidental drug overdose, the Chicago Cook County medical examiner’s office announced on Wednesday.
“The Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the cause and manner of death of 21-year-old Jarad A. Higgins. Higgins died as a result of oxycodone and codeine toxicity,” the office’s official Twitter account wrote in a post.
The hip-hop artist, who was an up-and-coming star with a Billboard Hot 100 hit, passed away at 21 on Dec. 8, 2019 after suffering a medical emergency at Chicago’s Midway International Airport.
Those traveling with the rapper described what appeared to be “some type of medical emergency” to investigators, Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed to ABC News.
The next day, the Chicago Police Department revealed that the rapper suffered an apparent seizure that led to his death while authorities were searching his plane and luggage for drugs and weapons.
Police and federal agents discovered 41 bags of marijuana, six bottles of liquid codeine and three firearms when the rapper and his entourage landed at Chicago’s Midway International Airport on Sunday, police said.
The Chicago native, who was signed to Interscope Records, has been open about his struggles with addiction in the past, telling The New York Times in an interview published in July 2018 that in high school he used Xanax heavily but was working on limiting his drug use.
“I smoke weed, and every now and then I slip up and do something that’s poor judgment,” he said. “I have a lot going for me, I recognize it’s a lot of big things, a lot of big looks. I want to be there, and you don’t have to overdose to not be there.”
The rapper’s death shocked fans and the music community, and even before autopsy results were revealed, his death prompted a debate about the opioid epidemic that is raging on in America.
“I can’t believe it… you were such a sweet soul. I’ll always remember meeting you and your family on the video set and thinking how close you were. You had so much further to go, you were just getting started. You’ll be missed Juice,” singer Ellie Goulding, who collaborated with the rapper on the 2019 song “Hate Me,” tweeted.
Rapper Lil Nas X paid tribute to Juice WRLD on stage a day after his death, where he played “Lucid Dreams” on stage — a melodic and melancholy emotional track that fuses rapping and singing.
“rip juice. so sad how often this is happening lately to young talented rising artists,” the “Old Town Road” star wrote in a series of tweets.
“Rip juice I can’t believe this happened,” rapper Lil Pump tweeted.
And rapper Lil Yachty, who collaborated with Juice WRLD on the 2018 single “Yacht Club,” tweeted, “Wow, I can not believe this. Rip my brother juice world” and shared a photo of the two on Instagram.
Wow, I can not believe this. Rip my brother juice world 😭😭😭
— caliginous boat (@lilyachty) December 8, 2019
The overdose epidemic has hit the music community hard in recent years, claiming the lives of young stars including Mac Miller in 2018 and Lil Peep in 2017.
ABC News’ Karma Allen and Julia Jacobo contributed to this report.