Juice Wrld, the rising Chicago-based rapper who died suddenly at Midway airport, had a well-known addiction to lean, but he said in July 2019 that he had kicked it for his girlfriend. He also was open about using prescription drugs over the years.
The sudden death of the talented rapper has shocked fans and the music world. Both Chicago police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed to Heavy that Juice Wrld is dead at the age of 21. He died after suffering from a seizure, TMZ is reporting.
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 TMZ, Juice WRLD may have ingested Percocet to avoid law enforcement detection.
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.”
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.
Agents gave Juice Narcan when he started “going into a seizure” and that woke him up but he was “incoherent,” according to the 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.
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. Langford told the newspaper it wasn’t clear whether the cardiac incident started before or after the plane landed.
It’s not clear what caused the seizure and/or cardiac arrest, however. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office used the rapper’s real name, Jarad Anthony Higgins, in confirming that he was dead. An autopsy will determine exactly how Juice Wrld died.
Juice Wrld rose to fame with his songs Lucid Dreams and All Girls Are the Same. His career was just starting to escalate. His album Death Race for Love went to Number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. He also collaborated with various well-known artists, such as Ellie Goulding and Lil Uzi. He frequently made drug references in his lyrics. He tweeted this just hours before he died.
What is lean? According to Drug Abuse.com, “Lean — also known as purple drank, purple lean, sizzurp, dirty sprite, and lean drink—is a combination of prescription-strength cough medicine, soft drinks, and hard, fruit-flavored candy. The prescription cough syrups used to make lean drink present the most danger because they often contain codeine, an opioid drug. Another active ingredient in some prescription cough syrups is promethazine, an antihistamine with potentially sedating effects that, in combination with opioids, could markedly impair motor functioning.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Juice Wrld Was Inspired to Try Lean by Future’s Music But Said He Quit for a Girlfriend
JuiceWrld admitted in an interview with Vulture that “Future was the artist who first influenced (him) to experiment with lean.” He explained that, when he met Future, he told him about that fact. “That’s the first thing I told him,” Juice said, according to Vulture. “He just was like, ‘Wow.’ He kind of apologized.” DJBooth reports that Juice claimed it was Future’s music that inspired him to try lean.
According to PopCulture.com, Juice Wrld explained that he started drinking lean in sixth grade, eventually adding in prescription pills like Percocet and Xanax. He explained that his drug use was a way to rebel against a conservative upbringing by his religious, gospel-loving single mother, PopCulture.com reported.
In the song Empty, he makes a reference to lean, saying it solves problems. His Lean Wit Me music video deals with drug addictions and included these lyrics,
F*ck one dose, I need two pills, two pills
I’m lookin’ for trouble so I know I’m gonna find it
Ring, ring, plug hit my phone, perfect timin’
I know I’m not right
But I’m not wrong, no, I’m not wrong
Girl, you hate it when I’m too high
But that’s where I belong, where I belong
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.’”
According to Complex, the music video for Lean Wit Me “follows him during support group meetings, his drug binge, and his arrest.”
Juice Wrld once said he stopped using the painkiller codeine because of his relationship with girlfriend, Ally Lotti. He. You can learn more about Juice Wrld and Lotti here. He wrote this:
She responded, “pls.”
Juice World often put lyrics about drugs into his music. Vulture referred to it as “his intensely confessional lyricism — subjects including high school heartbreak and heavy drug experimentation.” In WRLD ON DRUGS, “almost every song details the harsh realities of overdosing and the rabid need to drown out pain—in passing,” according to DJBooth.
On Different, he sings, as DJBooth noted, “I still got Molly in my system / I still got Xannys on my mental / It’s been a couple years since I quit ’em / I don’t wanna relapse but I may relapse, that feelin’ I miss it / I mean, Percs are cool, but I think I’m gettin’ sick of em” appears woefully out of place next to “Uh, call the hotel lobby, tell ’em we need clean sheets / Knock that pussy out, I kill it, tell it, ‘Rest in peace.’”
To Vulture, he explained that he was adopting a more sober lifestyle. “I try not to let it affect me too much,” he said. “It doesn’t really have that big of an impact on me. More recently, I’ve just kind of realized certain things about myself and my coming up, the way that substances played a part in my life, whether it was me doing them or other people. It’s something that I’m trying to separate myself from.”
“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.”
It’s Not Clear Why Juice Wrld Had a Seizure and/or Cardiac Arrest
Juice Wrld died at a Chicago airport. TMZ, which first broke the story of the rapper’s sudden death, reported that Juice Wrld is “dead after suffering a seizure in Chicago’s Midway airport.” The entertainment site gave additional details on the shocking news by adding, “witnesses tell us he suffered the seizure while walking through the airport. Law enforcement sources say he was bleeding from the mouth when paramedics got on scene.”
It’s not clear what triggered the seizure, however. 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.”
TMZ reported that Juice Wrld died at the hospital and was still conscious when he was brought there. According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Juice died after suffering “a medical emergency at Midway Airport.” 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. The official cause of death will likely be determined at that time.
According to the Sun-Times, “Chicago police confirmed that a 21-year-old man suffered a medical emergency at the airport about 2 a.m. after getting off a private jet. He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.”
Lean Has Caused Seizures in Some People But Seizures Can Have Many Causes & Cardiac Arrest Has Many Causes Too But Codeine Use Can Cause It
According to the Mayo Clinic, a seizure “is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in your behavior, movements or feelings, and in levels of consciousness. If you have two or more seizures or a tendency to have recurrent seizures, you have epilepsy.”
According to the FDA, codeine use can lead to a host of problems, including death, especially if ingested with other drugs or alcohol.
“Serious adverse reactions associated with codeine are respiratory depression and, to a lesser degree, circulatory depression, respiratory arrest, shock, and cardiac arrest. The most frequently observed adverse reactions with codeine administration include drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and constipation,” according to the FDA.
Mayo Clinic explains that seizures can range in severity and have many causes. Mayo Clinic reported of the causes, “Seizures can happen after a stroke, a closed head injury, an infection such as meningitis or another illness. Many times, though, the cause of a seizure is unknown.”
As to any nexus between codeine use and seizures, one journal article explained, “Codeine is a frequently used opioid analgesic, especially when pain control with acetaminophen or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs fails. Although seizures associated with codeine have been reported, pertinent data are very limited and the exact mechanism is unknown.”
In 2016, Complex reported that the rapper Lil Wayne’s plane had to make an emergency landing in Nebraska “after the rapper suffered a seizure.” He recovered and the cause was not clear, but Complex reported, he had “reportedly drank three bottles of promethazine-codeine syrup—or lean—over the course of a club appearance and after party in Minneapolis the night before the incident.” Lil Wayne said he had a history of epilepsy.
In that article, though, Complex spoke to a doctor who explained that lean can cause seizures in some people because “if you have these two drugs together (Promethazine and Codeine)—one that’s known to suppress all your functions and the other that can cause suppression or a seizure. When you suffer a seizure, the other drug stops your breathing. It’s a dangerous situation.”
According to WebMD, it’s rare for an epileptic seizure to cause death. “Death from epilepsy is rare. The leading cause of death among people with uncontrolled epilepsy, sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, or SUDEP, kills 1 in 1,000 people who have the disorder,” wrote WebMD. “Scientists don’t know the exact cause of SUDEP. The victim is often found in bed, lying facedown. It may not be clear that the person has had a seizure.”
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.