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Investigations are underway into the sudden death of Juice WRLD. The 21-year-old rapper, real name Jarad A. Higgins, died Sunday after reportedly suffering a seizure at Chicago's Midway airport. The Chicago native was a rising star with hits like "All Girls Are the Same" and "Lucid Dreams," the latter song peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard singles charts last year. The cause of death is still pending.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy Monday and determined that additional studies are required to establish the cause and manner of death. The Medical Examiner’s Office released a statement Monday afternoon saying, "Additional studies include cardiac pathology, neuropathology, toxicology and histology."
The Chicago Tribune reports Juice WRLD suffered convulsions and went into cardiac arrest as federal agents were searching his and his entourage’s luggage for guns and drugs. Sources alleged the rapper "began convulsing (and) going into a seizure." An agent purportedly administered two doses of Narcan, an emergency treatment which reverses the effects of opioids. Juice WRLD woke up but was apparently incoherent. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Law enforcement sources told the Tribune that 41 "vacuum-sealed" bags of marijuana, six bottles of prescription codeine cough syrup, two 9-mm pistols, a .40-caliber pistol, a high-capacity ammunition magazine and metal-piercing bullets were among the contraband found. Two of Juice WRLD's security guards were arrested on gun charges. The marijuana and codeine were found in bags, according to sources, that had no name tags. It’s unclear why federal agents were waiting for the plane’s arrival. The investigation is continuing.
When Juice WRLD collapsed, authorities apparently asked his girlfriend if he had any medical issues or had ingested any drugs. According to the Tribune she said that the rapper did not have any medical conditions, but that he "takes Percocet and has a drug problem." Percocet contains acetaminophen and oxycodone, an opioid.
A report from TMZ cited law enforcement sources who claim several members of the rapper's team on the private flight told them Juice WRLD had taken "several unknown pills" prior to the seizure. One of the associates allegedly said he had a Percocet problem. The FBI reportedly confiscated 70 pounds of marijuana that was on board. TMZ posted a photo of what appears to be suitcases full of vacuum-sealed marijuana; however, the FBI wouldn't confirm the reports when reached on Monday.
"Department of Justice policy prevents the FBI from commenting on the nature of any investigation that may or may not be occurring," the FBI's Chicago field office told Yahoo Entertainment in a statement.
Yahoo Entertainment reached out to a representative for Juice WRLD regarding the reports, but did not immediately receive a response.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is investigating the entertainer's death, Yahoo Entertainment can confirm. Juice WRLD was traveling from L.A. to Chicago on Saturday night prior to his passing. ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE) "is unable to provide comment at this time" as the investigation is ongoing, according to a spokesperson.
BREAKING: federal authorities from ICE, a division of @DHSgov confirm they’re investigating the death of Chicago rapper Juice WRLD and the private jet he flew in from LA. It landed at @fly2midway early Sunday and the rapper went into cardiac arrest minutes later. @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/Sap8QpsPsF
— Courtney Gousman (@cgousman) December 9, 2019
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office in Illinois confirmed Juice WRLD was pronounced dead at 3:14am at Advocate Christ Medical Center.
Juice WRLD gained popularity on the streaming platform SoundCloud. He was signed to Interscope Records at age 19. His album Death Race for Love debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in March. The rapper was open about his previous drug use, saying he took prescription pills like Xanax and Percocet in high school. He said he used Xanax heavily. In a 2018 interview with No Jumper he called drug use a "gift and a curse."
"It opens doors for you to feel emotions that you probably wouldn’t usually feel with a sober mindset, but at the same time that s**t can destroy you, like utterly destroy you," he said, adding "you have to learn the boundaries."
In an interview with the New York Times in 2018 the hitmaker admitted to occasionally slipping up.
"I smoke weed, and every now and then I slip up and do something that’s poor judgment," he shared. "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."
After the deaths of XXXTentacion, who was murdered at age 20, and Lil Peep, who accidentally overdosed on fentanyl and generic Xanax at age 21, Juice WRLD released a two-track EP online titled Too Soon. He sings a haunting lyric on the song “Legends”: "They tell me I’ma be a legend/I don’t want that title now/‘Cause all the legends seem to die out."
In a tweet from July, Juice WRLD vowed he was "done" with Codeine writing, "Addiction kills all but you can overcome."
Interscope Records said in a statement on Sunday: "Juice made a profound impact on the world in such a short period of time. He was a gentle soul whose creativity knew no bounds."
Tributes have been pouring in from celebrities like Drake, Travis Scott, Lil Nas X, Halsey and Jared Leto.
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Dec. 9, 2019 at 3:39pm ET and has been updated to include a statement from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
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