Monday, September 24, 2018
Obituaries of Note

Rapper Mac Miller dead at 26 of apparent overdose, reports say

Rapper Mac Miller has died at the age of 26, according to his attorney David Byrnes.

The Los Angeles Police Department responded to a home in the 11600 block of Valleycrest Road around 11:50 a.m. for a death investigation, a department spokeswoman said. Miller’s death was first reported by TMZ.

Born Malcolm James McCormick in Pittsburgh, Miller began his career on a high note when his first studio album, "Blue Side Park," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in 2011.

But that early commercial success brought critical pans, which he later said caused him to turn to drugs.

"A lot of the reviews were more on me as a person," he told Complex in 2013. "To be honest, that was even worse. You’re 19, you’re so excited to put out your first album, you put it out - and no one has any respect for you or for what you did."

Miller released his fifth studio album, "Swimming," last month. It debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart and received generally favorable reviews, with the A.V. Club noting that on it he sounds "great when he’s whining, croaking, stretching syllables like warm mozzarella." Pitchfork described his voice as "expressive in ways his plainspoken prose could never be, capturing his resignation without turning sadness into a performative spectacle."

The rapper also recently collaborated with celebrated artists such as Thundercat and announced a joint tour scheduled to start in October.

Just the day before his death, Vulture published a profile of Miller, and its author, Craig Jenkins, tweeted that he had spoken with Miller as recently as Thursday.

In the profile, Jenkins writes that despite the frankness of Miller’s music about his struggles with drugs, and the perception that he constantly parties and is depressive, "really, he spends his days relatively upbeat and preoccupied with music, and also with working out and balancing his diet" and "he’s not above mistakes and indulgences," including a DUI in May.

"I used to rap super openly about really dark" things, Miller told Jenkins, "because that’s what I was experiencing at the time. That’s fine, that’s good, that’s life. It should be all the emotions."

Wiz Khalifa, who attended the same high school as Miller, tweeted that he was "praying for Mac’s family and that he rest easy." Early in his career, Miller cited Khalifa as a mentor.

"Wiz has been a big brother to me with this music thing so far," he told digital magazine HipHopDX in 2010. "Our relationship is beyond music. He really is just my homie, whether I will be making music or not. He has really helped me in so many ways and reached out that I am really coming into my own now and carving my own path which is something important to the both of us."

As news of his death spread, entertainers and celebrities shared their condolences on social media.

Miller appeared with Ariana Grande on "The Way," the lead single from her 2013 debut album, "Yours Truly." The pair, who kissed in the song’s music video, later dated, taking their relationship public in 2016. They broke up in May. "I respect and adore him endlessly," Grande wrote in an Instagram story following their split.

In 2011, Miller released a mix tape called "Best Day Ever" that included a track called "Donald Trump." The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart - "Who wouldn’t be flattered?" its namesake tweeted of its success - and rose back into the iTunes Top 40 shortly after the 2016 presidential election. (Miller made his distaste for Trump clear in 2013, according to Yahoo News, calling him "egomaniacal" and "attention-thirsty.")

In the Fader documentary "Stopped Making Excuses," released in 2016, Miller discussed how his attitude toward fame affected his drug use.

"I’d rather be the corny white rapper than the drugged-out mess that can’t even get out of his house," he said. "Overdosing is just not cool. There’s no legendary romance. You don’t go down in history because you overdosed."

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