Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told Heavy.com, “This is being classified 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.” Those who were traveling with the rapper are cooperating with the investigation. They have not been identified.
Police dispatch audio obtained by Heavy reveals that officers at the airport called for dispatchers to send an ambulance to the Atlantic Aviation hanger for a man suffering from a seizure. You can listen to the scanner audio here.
Juice was on a private flight from Los Angeles to his hometown of Chicago and was in a private hanger of the airport when witnesses say he suddenly collapsed. Chicago Fire Spokesman Lawrence Langford told Heavy.com that Chicago Fire was called to a private terminal at Midway where they found the “Lucid Dreams” rapper in cardiac arrest and treated him according to protocol.
Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford told Heavy.com that Juice WRLD went into cardiac arrest at a private hangar around 2 a.m. at Chicago’s Midway airport.
Police officers and agents had been waiting at the Atlantic Aviation hangar at Midway early Sunday because they suspected the private plane from Los Angeles carrying was carrying contraband, according to The Chicago Tribune. As police searched the plane, Juice WRLD “began convulsing (and) going into a seizure,” sources told the Chicago Tribune. An agent administered two doses of Narcan, an emergency drug that is used when opioid overdose is suspected.
“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. The plane contained 10 passengers including Juice’s girlfriend Ally Lotti, who allegedly told police that Juice “takes Percocet and has a drug problem.”
Paramedics revived the rapper who eventually woke up but was incoherent and rushed to the hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital at 3:14 a.m.
Cook County Medical Examiner spokeswoman Natalia Derevyanny told Heavy.com that they have been notified of his death but currently have no updates, “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.
Juice WRLD was one of the hottest artists in hip-hop and a pioneer in the emerging “Emo Rap” genre. He broke out in 2018 with his hit single “Lucid Dreams” which reached #2 on the Billboard charts and went platinum a staggering 5 times. His first album “Goodbye and Good Riddance” reached #4 on the Billboard charts and went on to sell over 1,000,000 copies.
Juice’s second album, “Death Race for Love” was wildly successful and hit #1 on the Billboard charts, selling 165,000 copies in its first week. The Chicago rapper also released a joint album with rapper Future titled “The WRLD on Drugs” in 2018.
Juice was one of the most featured rappers in 2019, appearing on songs with major artists including Trippie Redd, Young Thug, and Ellie Goulding. He was awarded “Best New Artist” at the Billboard Music Awards 2019.
He foreshadowed his death in the song “Legends”. “All the legends seem to die out.” He sings, “We keep on losing our legends to the cruel cold world, what is it coming to?” He alludes to his death with the ominous line, “What’s the 27 Clu-u-u-ub?/We ain’t making it past 21”.
His last Instagram post on December 2 showed him celebrating his 21st birthday on a yacht in an undisclosed location.
“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,” his label, Interscope Records, said in a statement. “To lose someone so kind and so close to our hearts is devastating. Our thoughts are with Juice’s family and friends, everyone at his label Grade A, and his millions of fans around the world.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Juice WRLD Rapped & Talked About His Issues With Drugs & Substance Abuse
Juice WRLD has rapped extensively about his drug use throughout his career. He speaks about taking Percocet, codeine infused cough syrup (“lean”) and several other substances in his music. The 2018 mixtape with Future “WRLD on Drugs” drops several references to taking Percocet or “Percs” as he calls them.
In the song “Empty” off “Death Race for Love” he raps that he “problem solves with Styrofoam”, a reference to sipping “lean”.
In an interview with “No Jumper” he detailed his drug use and his issues with substance abuse and said he was trying to clean himself up. He explained that he was influenced at a young age by rappers who glorified the lifestyle. Juice has admitted in the past that he began drinking lean in sixth grade and using Percocet and Xanax in 2013.
He claims his father being absent led to a lot of his substance abuse problems. “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.” He said in an interview with Billboard.
He officially quit lean in July, announcing on Twitter “Ima leave that shit alone 4 good watch me.. I’m done w it,” Juice tweets. “I got work to do, a lot ?.” He also apologized to his girlfriend Ally for his behavior while on the drug. She seconded his decision on Twitter, quote tweeting him and adding “plz”.
“Bae I’m sorry I be tweaking, you’ve put up with more than ppl know I know I be scaring you, fuck Codeine I’m done. I love you and im letting it be known publicly that ain’t shit fucking up the real love I found. Learn from this everyone. Addiction kills all but you can overcome,” Juice wrote.
It’s unknown at this time if his drug use played a role in his death.
2. His Third Album Was Nearly Finished
Juice WRLD was on the cusp of releasing his third studio album at the time of his passing. He told XXL in October that his third album was slated to be released on his birthday, December 2.
His friend and engineer Max Lord described the album to XXL. “We’re focusing a lot more on [Juice Wrld’s] evolution in terms of where like the first album was more dealing with the bad relationship and with heartbreak and with the torment that brought,”
“The second album was really going through finding love again with his girlfriend, Ally, and kind of finding some solace in gaining success and how to handle it. And now, a lot more kind of dealing with the anxieties and the current state of mind that he’s in now where, you know, it’s everything that’s happened over the last year… catching up and dealing with a lot of responsibilities and how he’s able to wrestle with that in his own mind.”
The album didn’t end up being released on December 2 but was very close to being completed at the time of his death.
3. According to Witnesses, Juice WRLD Took ‘Several Unknown Pills” on the Flight to Chicago & Police Found ‘Lean’ and Firearms on the Plane
According to TMZ, authorities seized nearly 70 lbs. of marijuana from the plane that transported Juice WRLD from Los Angeles to Chicago. Law enforcement sources also told TMZ that they found a bottle of Codeine cough syrup, a substance that Juice had problems with in the past.
Addiction to codeine-infused cough syrup is highly dangerous and users can suffer seizures from withdrawals. Rappers Lil Wayne and Rick Ross have famously had seizures in the past from abusing the substance.
Members of Juice’s team aboard the flight told TMZ that the rapper had taken “several unknown pills” during the flight and has a “Percocet problem”.
Chicago Police Officer Michelle Tannehill described the circumstances of Juice’s arrest to Heavy.com:
On December 8 , 2019 at approx.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. 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.
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.
According to WGN-TV, federal authorities have launched an investigation into Juice Wrld’s death and the circumstances surrounding it. The investigation is led by ICE’s Homeland Security division, according to WGN.
4. Rappers and Celebrities Are Mourning The Passing of Juice WRLD
Several of Juice’s contemporaries and famous friends have posted their condolences and tributes to the young rapper.
Rapper Action Bronson commented “Terrible news about the young man Juice Wrld. We share December 2nd as our arrival day. Gone way too soon. Life is precious.”
Famous gamer and Twitch streamer Ninja also commented on the young rappers passing, tweeting “Waking up to @JuiceWorlddd passing from a seizure… I loved his music and he was my most listened to artist in 2019. Im heartbroken, my love goes out to his family and loved ones. To soon man.”
Several other NFL players, rappers, and musicians added their thoughts and prayers on Twitter.
Juice WRLD was extremely well connected and respected in the music industry. Rapper Young Thug once said of the young MC “Don’t nobody freestyle better than Juice Wrld,” in a video posted to his Instagram. “Nobody in the world. That’s on God.”
His last Instagram post, which shows the late rapper celebrating his birthday on December 2, has been flooded with tributes from his friends.
Fellow up and coming rapper Lil Tecca wrote, “u were just giving me tips on how to battle my anxiety, rest easy juice”. Famous jeweler Ben Baller added “Bro I can’t believe it. I can’t. I just spoke to you. RIP ?? and rest easy ? ????????.” Rapper Lil Keed said of Juice, “Damn man I’m sooo sorry here this about U man ???? this shit is fucked up and I wanna say u will be truly miss young king ? damnn bro ???? thug said u was the best freestyler ever”
The outpouring of support from the industry demonstrates just how connected and beloved the late rapper was.
5. He is Survived by His Mother, Older Brother, and Girlfriend Ally Lotti
Juice and Ally have been dating since September 2018. She was on tour with Juice and the pair had just returned from Australia where Juice was performing. The couple is usually seen together and both document their relationship extensively on social media.
She posted a heartfelt tweet on Juice’s birthday that read “b4 this day ends, i just wanna say hbd to my favorite person. this is ur second birthday i spent w yu and im so grateful. yu deserve so much im so proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished this past yr. there is not a soul that could match your energy. ily “endlessly” ??”
Juice WRLD’s mom was instrumental in developing his musical style. In an interview with The Gulf Times he explained that, “[My mother] is a very religious person who loves gospel music,” he explained. “She stopped me listening to rap. I’d hear some rap thanks to my cousins but not much. I was primarily into pop and rock which my mother considered as more acceptable.”
Juice WRLD’s parents divorced when he was 3 and he’s barely seen his father since. The rapper explained his upbringing to Adam22 on the “No Jumper” podcast, “I moved around a lot. I wasn’t in the same place for too long… My mom, she’s been in my life the whole time, my dad would jump in and out every now and then. That’s pretty much how that went.”
Neither Ally nor his family have released statements on the rapper’s passing as of yet.
This story will be updated as more details become available.