Following a flight from California to Chicago on December 8th, 2019, rapper Juice WRLD (known as Jarad Anthony Higgins) had a medical emergency at Chicago Midway International Airport, and later died. Higgins was reported to have suffered a heart attack and seizure at the airport. At Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Juice WRLD was pronounced dead at 3:15 am. The rapper was 21. The official cause of death has not been reported.
Speculation about Higgins’ cause of death is tied with the raid of his plane at Chicago Midway International airport. Federal and local law enforcement were tipped off about Juice WRLD’s plane carrying contraband, and were waiting for the rapper and his entourage at a private hanger in Midway Airport. Eyewitness accounts claim that Juice WRLD, in an attempt to hide drugs from the federal agents waiting to raid his plane, took several pills. He then suffered the medical emergency on the plane, and Narcan was administered by a federal agent at the airport.
Higgins was born in the city of Chicago, and later moved to Homewood, Illinois. Songs such as “Lucid Dreams” and “Hear Me Calling” made Juice WRLD a rocketing superstar of the rap world. His death is tragic, and we will always keep his memory in our hearts.
As someone that resonated to old school hip hop, I was far from an advocate for the SoundCloud rap scene that emerged in the late 2010s. However, that changed when my brother introduced me to a plethora of artists. As the burgeoning mumble rap phenomenon grew in popularity, I kept tabs on artists such as Travis Scott, Future, Trippie Redd, Lil Tecca, and recently, Juice WRLD. Gravitating to his emo rock persona, Juice WRLD garnered acclaim and accolades in a short period of time. His breakout hit, “Lucid Dreams,” showcased his raspy tone and melodic voice—a large component of his crossover appeal.
Although he released two studio albums and a mixtape with Future, his freestyles on several radio shows captured my attention last year. At such a young age, his ability to formulate rhyme schemes and flow switches was not a feat to overlook. In a rap marathon of sorts, I was in awe of his Tim Westwood freestyle over Eminem beats that lasted for an hour. Based on his versatility as an artist alone, his journey into stardom was solidified and had a bright future ahead of him.
However, this journey was sadly cut short on December 8th, 2019.
As he reiterated in numerous interviews, he prides himself in pouring his raw emotions into music. After analyzing his lyrics, he has dealt with past demons that affected him immensely. Despite his personal issues, he wanted to be a positive influence on the younger generation. He was proactive in giving back to children in Chicago and wanted to lead the next generation. His determination was felt by peers and was beloved by the entertainment industry. He will be missed. – Eli Chauhan
On December 15th, Juice WRLD was honored at Rolling Loud’s festival in Los Angeles in an on-stage tribute by his girlfriend, Ally Lotti. Lotti told the crowd that “Jarad loved every single person that he helped on this Earth. He literally loved every single one of you.” She shared that Juice WRLD’s wishes would be to let “everyone to know that you need to take any negative thing in your life, he would tell you every time he saw you, and change that to a positive situation. Change that to 999. You gotta keep that in your heart. Can everyone say ‘999?‘”
If you are struggling with addiction, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Addiction Recovery Resources:
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)