It began as an ordinary Friday afternoon. My roommate and I were discussing our plans for the weekend ahead of us, and listening to some music. The date was September 7th, 2018. Little did I know at the time, I will never forget that day. As I sat in my bed waiting for plans, my roommate received a phone call. As he answered his phone, I hoped that we were being invited to a party for the night to come. Suddenly, my roommate yelled into the phone in disbelief, “you are lying, there is no way Mac Miller is dead!” My heart dropped as I heard those words come from his mouth. Praying it was Twitter nonsense, I rushed to the internet to see if the accusation was true. Within seconds of typing “Mac Miller” into the Google search bar, my prayers were shattered. “Mac Miller dead at 26 of apparent drug overdose” read title at the top of the screen. It was a story posted by TMZ just 20 minutes prior. I felt no need to hold back my tears on that day, my heart was broken. The world had lost yet another legend.
According to an article by Rolling Stone, Mac Miller’s death was the result of an accidental overdose. He was by found in his California home by a friend, alone in his bedroom, in a prayer position. A toxicology report released by the L.A. County Coroner’s office found a combination of alcohol, cocaine and Fentanyl in his system at the time of his death. Fentanyl was also the drug which took the lives of famous musicians Prince, Tom Petty, and Lil Peep. So what is this mystery drug wreaking havoc amongst industry legends?
According to the DEA, Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It’s presence has been increasingly relevant on the streets of cities with problematic heroin usage. Dealers are adding Fentanyl to heroin and other opioids in order to make them stronger. The problem is, Fentanyl is so potent that it’s usage often results in overdose. Last year, the National Institute of Drug Abuse reported that nearly 30,000 drug overdoses were related to the use of Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. But how did Mac Miller come in contact with a drug commonly found in heroin?
Mac Miller was exposed to Fentanyl through the use of cocaine. Fentanyl is almost impossible to locate when added to a powder or a pill. Therefore, Mac Miller had no idea he was using enough drugs to end his life. Even though his death took me, and millions of other people by surprise, his use of drugs was evident throughout his entire career. In 2014, Miller released a surprise mixtape called FACES. I was sixteen years old, and when I listened to this tape for the first time, I thought it would be the last project he would ever release. His songs referenced a crippling dependency to drugs, depression, and the possibility of dying young. One lyric I remember vividly from a song entitled “Malibu” is, “I might die before I detox.” Majority of the album felt like a subtle goodbye to all of his fans.
However, in September of 2015, Miller dropped his third full-length album, GOOD:AM. The following year, in September of 2016, Miller released yet another full-length album called The Divine Feminine. Both albums focused on much more positive aspects of life than FACES had. Suddenly, Mac Miller had discovered an entirely new sound, opened himself up to an brand new fanbase, and morphed bad habits into a positive lifestyle. In 2016, Miller was in a serious relationship with mega pop-star Ariana Grande. This relationship put Mac Miller under a spotlight he had not seen since his early days of fame. All seemed well for Mac Miller. As a dedicated fan, I could not have been happier for the success of an artist I had listened to throughout his darkest days. During his GOOD:AM tour I went to both of his New York shows. I am beyond thankful that I was blessed with the opportunity to see him perform before he passed away.
Earlier this year, Grande announced her and Miller had broken up. Soon after news broke of their split, Miller was arrested for DUI after crashing his Mercedes into a utility pole. Many blame the DUI on their break-up. However, Miller says “he needed the wake up call.” Despite this downfall, Miller came back swinging with the early August release of Swimming, his fifth album. When I first heard Swimming, all of my worries about his condition were swept away. He appeared happy, his style sounded perfected, he seemed comfortable, and appeared determined to be the best artists he could possibly be. I was excited, and inspired by who he was becoming. And then, just as soon as it came, all of that hope was gone. I truly feel as if a piece of who I am, died with Mac Miller that day. It doesn’t matter to me how ridiculous that sounds. His music and his passion influenced who I have become.
After news of his death broke the surface, hundreds of celebrities payed tribute on Social Media. Some of these celebrities include fellow hip-hop artists such as J. Cole, Jaden Smith, and Chance the Rapper:
I dont know what to say Mac Miller took me on my second tour ever. But beyond helping me launch my career he was one of the sweetest guys I ever knew. Great man. I loved him for real. Im completely broken. God bless him.
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) September 7, 2018
Long Live Mac Miller, Rest In Peace We Love You
— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) September 7, 2018
This is a message for anybody in this game that’s going through something. If you don’t feel right, if you feel you have a substance problem, if you need a ear to vent to. If you uncomfortable talking to people around you. Please reach out to me.
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) September 7, 2018
Ariana Grande, who was engaged to another man at the time of Mac Miller’s death, took to Instagram to pay respect to her former Love:
View this post on Instagram
i adored you from the day i met you when i was nineteen and i always will. i can’t believe you aren’t here anymore. i really can’t wrap my head around it. we talked about this. so many times. i’m so mad, i’m so sad i don’t know what to do. you were my dearest friend. for so long. above anything else. i’m so sorry i couldn’t fix or take your pain away. i really wanted to. the kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved. i hope you’re okay now. rest.
Mac Miller was the most influential individual in my life. His struggles helped me discover my passion as he guided me through my own hardships. His words kept my head up when it felt to heavy to hold up on my own. His music kept me company on the long nights when I felt all alone in the world. Mac Miller inspired me to keep going no matter what, and I know for certain that i’m not alone when I say this. Malcom James McCormick as he was born, died way too young. But for many fans, the mark he made on our lives will never fade away, and his powerful message of love and positivity will live forever with his music. May he rest in peace.
Check out this video I made while putting together this story: https://youtu.be/JM8pMxcig8A