UPDATED: Juice Wrld, the fast-rising young rapper best known for his 2018 hit “Lucid Dreams,” died on Sunday shortly after suffering a seizure at Chicago’s Midway Airport, Variety has confirmed. He was 21 years old.
A statement from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said that Jarad A. Higgins (Juice Wrld’s real name), of Homewood, Ill., was pronounced dead at 3:14 a.m. Central time at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. The statement did not give a cause of death, although it later said an autopsy has been scheduled for Monday, with another update expected at around 4 p.m. ET on that day. The news was first reported by TMZ, which cited law enforcement sources saying that the rapper experienced a seizure while walking through the airport.
Interscope Records released a statement following news of Juice’s death.
“Juice made a profound impact on the world in such a short period of time,” it reads. “He was a gentle soul, whose creativity knew no bounds, an exceptional human being and artist who loved and cared for his fans above everything else. To lose someone so kind and so close to our hearts is devastating. Our thoughts are with Juice’s family and friends, everyone at his label Grade A, and his millions of fans around the world.”
Born and raised in Chicago, the rapper — who had just turned 21 on Dec. 2 — had enjoyed a rapid ascent since he first began posting his songs to SoundCloud as a teenager in 2015, working in a style that blended elements of emo and rock with hip-hop. His independently-released 2017 track “Lucid Dreams” proved to be a career-maker, rising steadily until an official single release in 2018 broke him onto the pop charts, where the song would peak at No. 2. His lyrics often dealt with themes of depression, death and substance abuse. Last year, after the deaths of XXXTentacion and Lil Peep, who died at the ages of 20 and 21, respectively, Juice released a tribute EP called “Too Soon”; in the song “Legends,” he rapped, “What’s the 27 ‘Club’? / We ain’t making it past 21.”
Signing to Interscope Records in early 2018, Juice released his debut album, “Goodbye & Good Riddance,” almost immediately after, which was certified platinum before the end of the year, and contained yet another No. 2 single in “All Girls Are the Same.” His busy year continued with a summer in memoriam EP dedicated to late fellow SoundCloud rappers XXXTentacion and Lil Peep; a collaborative album with Future, “Wrld on Drugs,” which reached No. 2 on the album chart in October; and an original song on the soundtrack for the film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
Juice released his second album, “Death Race for Love,” in spring of 2019. It was his first effort to reach No. 1 on the album chart. Also this year, he toured Europe with Nicki Minaj on a co-headlining bill.
While social issues were not at the forefront of most of his songs, the rapper had a strong response when asked by Variety in June about the number of young rappers who are currently incarcerated.
“If you a minority, the justice system is made for you to lose,” he said. “I’m not anybody to judge somebody’s actions. Everybody makes their own mistakes, regardless of what the mistake is. But if you’re a minority, just keep in mind that this criminal justice system was made for people to lose.”
He also said he was planning to release an album on his birthday (Dec. 2, last week). Although no album was released on that day, he appeared on a series of collaborations over the past few months, including tracks with BTS, Ellie Goulding, Benny Blanco and Young Boy Never Broke Again. A joint album with his friend, rapper Ski Mask the Slump God, with whom he’d collaborated in the past, was also said to be in the works.
The rapper posted what is apparently an unreleased lyric on Twitter Saturday that reads:
“Hands wrapped in chains made of my vices/ Introduce wok to Fanta she really liked him/ The devil talk so much sh– I really wanna fight him like Tyson/ Weapon so loud it’s ear biting.”
On Dec. 1, he posted: “This life is yours do what tf you want do great things and change the world don’t let no one tell you SH–.. and you’ll be bigger than “juice wrld” will ever be, and he’s going down as a legend – Jarad.”
This life is yours do what tf you want do great things and change the world don’t let no one tell you SHIT.. and you’ll be bigger than “juice wrld” will ever be, and he’s going down as a legend – Jarad
— . (@JuiceWorlddd) December 1, 2019