Juice WRLD, the talented Chicago-born rapper whose Lucid Dreams was a massive hit, died from cardiac arrest, Heavy has confirmed with that Chicago Fire Department. However, what caused him to go into cardiac arrest is not clear.
First, TMZ, which first broke the news that the 21-year-old rapper was dead after a medical emergency at Midway Airport, reported that Juice died of a seizure. However, news that he had cardiac arrest then came from the spokesman of the Chicago Fire Department. Heavy has also obtained 911 dispatch audio that shows authorities responded to a report of a man “seizuring,” in the words of the responding officer. It’s not clear whether he had a seizure and cardiac arrest, though, as the formal cause of death will be revealed after the autopsy most likely. It’s also not clear why he suffered those things.
TMZ is now reporting that the plane that the rapper took to Chicago was “loaded down with 70 pounds of marijuana … and cops say people on the plane told them the rapper had popped several pills prior to suffering seizures.” The site published a photo allegedly showing drugs inside suitcases. Although it’s not clear what the pills were, TMZ reports that one of Juice’s colleagues told police that Juice had a “Percocet problem,” and police found a bottle of codeine cough syrup on the private plane.
According to sources, TMZ is alleging that Juice WRLD may have swallowed Percocet pills so law enforcement couldn’t find them.
The Chicago Tribune quoted law enforcement sources as saying that Juice WRLD went into “convulsions” and then cardiac arrest as federal agents were “searching his and his entourage’s luggage for guns and drugs.” The federal agents were waiting for the plane because they suspected Juice’s private plane was “carrying contraband,” the Tribune reported.
Chicago police told Heavy.com in a statement that, on December 8, 2019 at approximately 1:34 a.m. in the 6100 block of South Laramie, Chicago Police “were called to assist Federal Authorities in regards to a private jet arriving at the airport which contained a large amount of narcotics. Upon CPD arriving, the occupants of the target plane were standing in the lobby with luggage loaded on two luggage carts.”
The statement continues, “Illinois State Police K9 Unit began a search which immediately indicated a positive narcotics alert on a suitcase on the first cart. The K9 Officer then conducted a search on the second cart of luggage with another positive alert of narcotics. Officers then searched the luggage, which contained 41 bags of suspect marijuana and six prescription bottles of suspect liquid cocaine, along with three firearms. None of the subjects claimed ownership of the luggage.”
Police added: “During the investigation, a 21-year-old male suffered a medical emergency, causing him to have a seizure. The report indicates that a Homeland Security Officer administrated Narcan to the victim. The victim was later pronounced. Upon further investigation, Offender #1 Henry Dean, 27, indicated that he was on the plane but was private security. He was able to provide a valid FOID card and CCL but was in possession of high capacity round magazine. Offender #1 was subsequently charged with one charge of Possession of High Capacity Magazine and Metal Piercing Bullets, and two misdemeanor counts of Carry or Conceal a Firearm in the Airport. Offender #2, Christopher Long, 36 was charged with one misdemeanor count of Unlawful Use of Weapon/Carry or Possess.”
Agents gave Juice Narcan when he started “going into a seizure” and that woke him up but he was “incoherent,” according to the Chicago newspaper’s sources.
The Tribune reported that authorities recovered “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,” according to the newspaper’s sources. The bags with the marijuana and codeine lacked name tags, The Tribune reported. The plane contained 10 passengers including Juice’s girlfriend, who allegedly told police that Juice “takes Percocet and has a drug problem.” Since Percocet contains Oxycodone, Narcan was given.
The American Heart Association says that a heart attack and cardiac arrest are not technically the same thing. According to AHA’s website, cardiac arrest is “the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not have been diagnosed with heart disease. It can come on suddenly, or in the wake of other symptoms. Cardiac arrest is often fatal, if appropriate steps aren’t taken immediately.”
AHA says that a heart attack is different, at least to a non lay person. “The term ‘heart attack’ is often mistakenly used to describe cardiac arrest. While a heart attack may cause cardiac arrest, the two terms don’t mean the same thing,” AHA explained.
“Heart attacks are caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to the heart. A heart attack (or myocardial infarction) refers to death of heart muscle tissue due to the loss of blood supply. Heart attack can be understood as a ‘circulation’ problem. A heart attack is quite serious, sometimes fatal. By contrast, cardiac arrest is caused when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. The heart stops beating properly.”
There are many potential causes of cardiac arrest. According to AHA, the causes can include heart tissue scarring, a thickened heart muscle, heart medications, electrical abnormalities, blood vessel abnormalities, and recreational drug use. According to the FDA, codeine use can lead to a host of problems, including cardiac arrest or death, especially if ingested with other drugs or alcohol.
The music world is in shock at the sudden death of yet another talented young rapper. In fact, Juice WRLD raps about death in the song Legends, which is about the deaths of Lil Peep and XXXTentacion. He sang, “What’s the 27 club? We ain’t making it past 21.” At the time of his death, Juice WRLD was exploding in popularity through songs like Lucid Dreams and All Girls Are the Same. His album Death Race for Love went to Number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. He also collaborated with various well-known artists.
“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, an exceptional human being and artist who loved and cared for his fans above everything else,” Interscope Records wrote in a statement.
Here’s what you need to know about the heart attack angle:
The Chicago Fire Department Confirms It Found Juice WRLD in ‘Cardiac Arrest’
Heavy reached out to the Chicago Fire Department to get details of what happened when EMS responded to the Atlantic Aviation private hangar as Juice WRLD arrived from a flight that originated in California. He was on that flight with a group of other people who haven’t been identified, according to two videos, purportedly from inside the plane that night, that were posted to Twitter by a YouTuber. You can see those videos later in this article. It was 2 a.m., and Juice WRLD and his entourage had arrived at the airport, when the “medical emergency” occurred. Although it’s not clear whether Juice WRLD was in any kind of duress during the flight, the videos show him looking fine and one video shows the plane on the tarmac with no indication from the person filming it that anything was going wrong.
Chicago Fire Spokesman Lawrence Langford told Heavy, “Chicago Fire found him in cardiac arrest and treated him according to protocol. We are called to a private terminal at Midway to a private flight.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that was around 2 a.m. and Juice WRLD was pronounced dead at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn at 3:15 a.m., with TMZ saying he was conscious at first.
Langford told the Sun-Times newspaper it wasn’t clear whether the cardiac incident started before or after the plane landed. TMZ’s account was a bit different. The entertainment site reported that he died after suffering from a seizure that occurred while he was walking through the airport and that he was bleeding from the mouth.
Chicago police dispatch audio obtained by Heavy provides a few more details. It shows that initial responders did report a man “seizuring” and that they called authorities to the private hangar. In other words, Juice WRLD wasn’t walking through the main concourse when this happened.
The pertinent audio, which you can listen to below, starts at about 14:36 minutes into the file, which you can listen to below. “Get an ambulance inside the Atlantic uh airport. We’ve got a guy seizuring in here,” says an officer.
“Ambulance inside the airport? Where in the airport?” asks the dispatcher. “The Atlantic private section. 6150 S Laramie. An individual seizuring,” says the officer.
Dispatcher: “6150 South Laramie, OK, we will get them rolling.” That’s the address of Atlantic Aviation at Midway.
At 15:54 in, another officer says, “Ambulance come over here to Atlantic…” The dispatcher responds, “Already sent.”
At 17:25 into the file, an officer informs dispatch, “We’re going to need a beat car to follow this EMS from Midway,” “OK,” she says. Listen:
Here’s the first video shared by DJ Akademiks, who says it shows Juice WRLD in the private plane that night.
Here’s video 2. “More footage of Juice Wrld on his private jet which was headed to Chicago. Seems like everything was good and everyone including him was in high spirits until he landed,” wrote DJ Akademiks.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed to Heavy that they were notified of Juice WRLD’s death, using his real name Jarad Anthony Higgins. They indicated the cause of death would be determined by an autopsy, which hadn’t happened yet.
What do Chicago police say? Anthony Guglielmi, Chicago police spokesman, told Heavy in a statement, “This is being classif(ied) currently as a death investigation. There are no initial signs of foul play and we are awaiting results from the medical examiner on the cause and manner of death.”
He added on Twitter: “After arriving in Chicago Mr. Higgins suffered what appears to be a medical emergency with no obvious signs of foul play. Individuals aboard the aircraft are cooperating. We will await autopsy results on cause & manner of death & don’t anticipate any updates until 3pm tomorrow ”
Midway is the smaller of Chicago’s two major airports, with the other being O’Hare.
“The medical examiner has been notified of the death of Jarad Higgins, 21 year old black male, 18500 block of Pierce Terrace in Homewood, Illinois, and the autopsy has not been performed at this time,” the medical examiner’s spokeswoman told Heavy. The Pierce Terrace address is his home address in Illinois, according to online records.
Although it’s not clear what triggered the medical emergency, Juice WRLD started using lean in 6th grade after listening to Future’s music and also spoke openly about prescription drug abuse over the years, such as Percocet and Xanax. Of getting sober from opiates, he once said, according to Billboard, “What do you expect if I’m a young dude that really loves music, really looks up to these artists? I didn’t have a man giving me no type of guidance. My father wasn’t in my life like that. So listening to this grown-ass man rap about lean, I’m like, ‘Well, that sounds really appealing.’” His songs were laced with drug references. He also talked about getting sober from drug addiction.
“I want to be that person that leads people out of the place they’re at,” Juice WRLD told Billboard earlier this year. “And in the process, maybe I’ll find the key to get out of the place that I’m at. The low places I may wander into or get trapped in.” Seizures can have many causes and range in severity, according to the Mayo Clinic.
READ NEXT: Read More About Juice WRLD’s Death.