Juice Wrld death: Chicago-born rapper dies aged 21

Adam White
Rapper Juice Wrld, who has reportedly died at the age of 21, on the red carpet in 2018: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Power 105.1

Chicago rapper Juice Wrld, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, has died at the age of 21.

The musician, who rose to the top of the charts with the Sting-sampling hit “Lucid Dreams”, suffered a “medical emergency” at Chicago’s Midway International airport on Sunday morning, police said. He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lil Nas X and Camila Cabello are among the figures from the music world who paid tribute to Higgins after news of his death emerged.

“RIP juice. So sad how often this is happening lately to young talented rising artists,” tweeted Lil Nas X.

DJ Zane Lowe described Higgins as a “thoughtful and gifted artist” whose music had an “enormous impact on millions”.

“I always looked forward to seeing him. I’m so sad to know that won’t be possible anymore,” he added.

Cook County medical examiner’s office confirmed it had been notified of Higgins’ death. An autopsy had not yet been conducted but police said there were no signs of foul play.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said a man in cardiac arrest was taken to a hospital from a hangar operated by Atlantic Aviation at Midway, away from the main terminal, where private planes land.

TMZ reported earlier in the day that Higgins had suffered a seizure, with law enforcement sources telling the site the rapper was bleeding from the mouth as they arrived at the scene and was pronounced dead a short time later in hospital.

Many fans referred to the lyrics of his song “Legends”, which foreshadowed his young death with the lyrics: “What’s the 27 Club? We ain’t making it past 21.”

Higgins blended rapping and singing on his songs, sometimes mumbling words and focusing more on melody. “Lucid Dreams,” which heavily samples Sting’s 1993 song “Shape of My Heart,” was a six-times platinum success and peaked at number two on the all-genre Hot 100 chart in the US. It reached the top spot on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts.

“I was very impressed by what he put on top of [my version],” Sting told The Associated Press this year. “It’s a really good song.”

Higgins got his start on the music sharing platform SoundCloud before signing to a record label and finding major success on streaming services. His major-label debut album, Goodbye & Good Riddance, was a platinum success. It featured the hit “All Girls Are the Same”, which gained platinum status, alongside seven more platinum hits including “Armed & Dangerous”, “Robbery”, “Fine China” and “Legends,” which features the lyrics: “What’s the 27 Club?/We ain’t making it past 21.”

Higgins’s second album, Death Race for Love, debuted on top of the Billboard charts this year and his most recent single, “Bandit” with YoungBoy Never Broke Again, reached the Top 10 of the pop charts in October.

Higgins graduated in 2017 from Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School outside Chicago, where he gained a reputation as a talented musician among the nearly 3,000 students. School officials that they would offer counselling services for students affected by his death.

“He is remembered by his teachers and staff as being a brilliant and creative student. Jared was extraordinarily talented in music and played many instruments,” said school spokeswoman Jodi Bryant. “He was a caring and outgoing person who always tried to reach out to others while at the same time he was introspective and had a great sense of humour.”

Additional reporting by agencies

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