Rapper Mac Miller died Friday of a suspected overdose, Yahoo Entertainment can confirm.
At 11:50 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department officers responded to a radio call of a death investigation in North Hollywood at an address matching Miller’s. A spokeswoman tells Yahoo Entertainment the call involved “a deceased adult male” and the cause of death “did not appear to be criminal in nature.” While the LAPD did not identify the person by name, Yahoo can confirm that it was Miller.
The artist’s family later issued a statement to ET: “Malcolm McCormick, known and adored by fans as Mac Miller, has tragically passed away at the age of 26. He was a bright light in this world for his family, friends and fans. Thank you for your prayers. Please respect our privacy. There are no further details as to the cause of his death at this time.”
Tom Corson, co-chairman & COO of Warner Bros. Records, Miller’s record company, gave his own statement. “All of us at Warner Bros. Records are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic news of Mac Miller’s untimely passing,” Corson told Yahoo via email. “Mac was a hugely gifted and inspiring artist, with a pioneering spirit and a sense of humor that touched everyone he met. Mac’s death is a devastating loss and cuts short a life and a talent of huge potential, where the possibilities felt limitless. We join all of his fans across the globe in extending our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.”
Miller, whose real name is Malcolm James McCormick, rose to fame in 2011 with his chart-topping debut album, Blue Slide Park. It was the first independently distributed album to top the Billboard 200 since Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food in 1995. He gained mainstream notoriety after appearing on Ariana Grande’s 2013 track “The Way.” Miller was one of the most respected lyricists in hip-hop.
His material took a darker turn on the 2014 mixtape, Faces, where he opened up about depression and drug use, rapping “a drug habit like Philip Hoffman will probably put me in a coffin,” mentioning his use of cocaine, codeine cough syrup, and angel dust.
“I was doing a lot of drugs around that time, which is another difference now: I’m not doing as many drugs. It just eats at your mind, doing drugs every single day, every second. It’s rough on your body,” he said in Billboard in 2015, admitting he was worried about dying. However, in the same interview, Miller said he was in a much better place when it came to his health.
“Yeah, definitely way healthier — I mean, compared to then. I still smoke cigarettes,” he added. “I’m not completely sober, but I’m way better than I was at that point. I was afraid of what my life had become. But once you just breathe and relax, you come to terms with it. This is my life, I enjoy it, and it’s OK that I enjoy it. It’s OK that I’m young and rich. Let’s have fun.”
The rapper had seemed to be doing well both professionally and personally — he and Grande began dating in 2016. However, his talent was overshadowed in the past year by troubling headlines. In May, he was arrested on DUI and hit-and-run charges after crashing his car in Los Angeles and fleeing the scene. His blood-alcohol level was reportedly twice the legal limit. The accident came days after his highly publicized breakup with Grande.
In an interview last month with Rolling Stone, Miller maintained his partying days were behind him.
“If a bunch of people think I am a huge drug addict, OK. Cool. What can I really do? Go talk to all those people and be like ‘Naw man, it’s really not that simple?’” he explained. “Have I done drugs? Yeah. But am I a drug addict? No.”
Miller admitted the DUI didn’t help public perception of him. “I loaded the gun for them,” he admitted. “I got into that s***. That’s my mistake. What does that specific event mean for my whole character? That’s a different conversation. But people are going to draw their own conclusions. And I have a past history with that s***, so they’re going to naturally assume that that means I’m back going through it. I can’t change it. I’m not going to lose sleep over it, though. I’d rather just continue living my life and see where that goes.”
He released his fifth album (and third for Warner Bros. Records), Swimming, in August. In what turned out be his final video, for the track titled “Self Care,” Miller is seen trapped inside a coffin. The clip is even more disturbing in light of Friday’s shocking news.
In a profile published by Vulture on Thursday, Miller talked about the pressure that came with living in the spotlight.
“A lot of times in my life I’ve put this pressure to hold myself to the standard of whatever I thought I was supposed to be, or how I was supposed to be perceived. And that creates pressure. … It’s annoying to be out and have someone come up to me and think they know. They’re like “Yo, man, are you okay?” I’m like “Yeah, I’m f***ing at the grocery store.” You know? It’s the job. This is what I signed up for. … You have to have your own reality and that has to be the driving force of your life. Do I wish that every single thing I did when I was 19 wasn’t a discussion? Sure.”
He added, “I could live this squeaky clean life and everything. I could try to control the media. But I’ve been finding freedom in just living and letting people say whatever the f*** they want.”
Late Thursday night, he was active on social media. Miller posted videos on his Instagram Story showing a turntable playing the song “So It Goes” off his album, Swimming. The track includes the lyric, “Nine lives, never die, f*** a heaven, I’m still gettin’ high/Never mind, did I mention I’m fine?”
Miller was getting ready to begin his U.S. tour on Oct. 27 in San Francisco.
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