The Chicago-born singer then started convulsing and eventually had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest, shortly after getting off the plane at Chicago’s Midway Airport, according to The Chicago Tribune. Heavy.com has confirmed from the Chicago police, fire, and medical examiner’s office that the rapper died at age 21 after authorities responded to the private hangar.
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.”
Juice was building a promising career in the rap world, with the mega hit Lucid Dreams and more, after breaking out on Soundcloud.
The rapper had spoken publicly about his addictions to prescription pills and lean before, including Percocet. His songs are filled with references to drugs.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Juice WRLD’s Pilot May Have Tipped Off Law Enforcement That His Plane Had Guns on Board, Starting the Fatal Chain of Events, TMZ Reports
TMZ, which also broke news of Juice’s untimely death, reported that the private plane’s pilot was the person who tipped off law enforcement that people on the aircraft were allegedly carrying guns. That’s why federal officials were waiting when the plane, which was coming from California, landed.
“Juice WRLD might’ve made a fatal decision as law enforcement searched his private jet — swallowing a bunch of painkillers in an attempt to hide them from the feds,” TMZ reported, although authorities have not officially confirmed this account. The pilot hasn’t been identified.
“We’re told at some point between the plane landing and the feds conducting their search … Juice was seen swallowing several Percocet pills in what people believed was an attempt to hide them,” TMZ reported, adding that the site’s sources think that might have contributed to a possible overdose. Juice’s autopsy didn’t establish a cause of death, and the ME is waiting for the results of toxicology and other tests.
2. Other Early Reports Indicated Authorities Found Guns & Drugs & Indicated That Juice’s Girlfriend Allegedly Told Authorities That He ‘Takes’ Percocet
Officials and dispatch audio indicate the rapper suffered cardiac arrest and a seizure. What triggered those things for sure is not yet clear. However, a picture is emerging of a plane that landed in Chicago loaded with what federal authorities consider contraband.
Chicago Fire Spokesman Lawrence Langford told Heavy, “Chicago Fire found him in cardiac arrest and treated him according to protocol. We [we]re called to a private terminal at Midway to a private flight.” The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the medical emergency occurred around 2 a.m. on Sunday, December 8, 2019, and Juice WRLD was pronounced dead at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn at 3:15 a.m. The hangar was operated by Atlantic Aviation, according to dispatch audio.
That follows an earlier report that the rapper died after suffering from a seizure, according to TMZ, which broke the news of his death.
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 (it’s well known that Juice battled an addiction to lean, which is made with cough syrup. He also spoke openly about using prescription drugs, such as Percocet and Xanax, and his songs are replete with drug references.)
Heavy.com has obtained Chicago police dispatch audio that indicates first responders reported a man “seizuring” at the hangar. ICE’s Homeland Security is now also investigating Juice’s death, WGN-TV reported. WGN added that Juice WRLD went into cardiac arrest within minutes of the plane landing.
The Chicago Tribune, Chicago’s main daily, has reported some details that flesh out the TMZ account.
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. Narcan can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, although it’s not known for sure what, if anything, Juice ingested.
3. Percocet Can Be Fatal If Too Much Is Taken, Especially in Combination With Other Controlled Substances
Percocet is dangerous if a person takes too much of it. It’s especially dangerous if combined with other drugs. “Knowing the effects of mixing Percocet (also referred to by the generic names Acetaminophen and Oxycodone) and alcohol can help you make informed decisions about your consumption of these items,” reports Alcohol.org. “Studies indicate that combining alcohol and Percocet increases the chance of addiction. Continued use of this combination can lead to severe liver damage, liver failure, overdose, and death.”
According to Drugs.com, “Percocet contains a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone. Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of oxycodone…You should not use Percocet if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other narcotic medications…MISUSE OF THIS MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH… An overdose of oxycodone or acetaminophen (both present in Percocet) can cause death.” Xanax misuse can also lead to death.
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.
Juice was also addicted to lean over the years, which contains codeine cough syrup.
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.
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.”
There are many types of seizures, though, according to Mayo Clinic, and they “range in severity. Most seizures last from 30 seconds to two minutes. A seizure that lasts longer than five minutes is a medical emergency.”
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 (which is found in lean) 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.”
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.”
4. Juice WRLD Openly Talked About Using Pills & Lean
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.”
5. Videos Show Juice WRLD Didn’t Seem in Duress on the Plane & Dispatch Audio Shows an Officer Reported a Man ‘Seizuring’
The pertinent dispatch audio 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:
Meanwhile video has surfaced showing Juice WRLD on the private jet as it flew to Chicago, according to a YouTuber. Nothing appears amiss.
“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 YouTuber who shared the videos on Twitter.
According to WGN-TV, police charged two bodyguards who were part of Juice’s entourage with “having guns on airport property” – one was accused of carrying a concealed firearm at the airport and one was accused of “having high capacity magazines and metal piercing bullets.” A 36-year-old man is charged with “unlawful use of a weapon,” WGN reported. TMZ reported their names as Chris Long and Henry Dean. The gun charges are misdemeanors, The Tribune reported.