Earlier this week, the music world was stunned by the death of Juice WRLD, a rising star in today’s hip hop scene.
The rapper — whose real name was Jarad Harris — died after suffering a seizure at Chicago’s Midway Airport.
He was just 21 years old.
The unusual circumstances of his final moments have led to widespread rumors about the cause of Juice WRLD’s death.
Police reports indicated that Harris suffered his fatal seizure as authorities were conducting a search of the private jet in which he had been traveling.
The search yielded 70 pounds of marijuana and six bottles of codeine-laced cough medicine.
Insiders have claimed that Harris swallowed “numerous pills” before his death, possibly in an effort to hide them from authorities.
Now, in a statement issued to TMZ, the rapper’s family has confirmed a fact that’s been widely reported in the media:
The 21-year-old had been struggling with addiction to Percocet, an opioid-based painkiller.
It’s this addiction, the family believes, that eventually claimed Harris’ life.
“We loved Jarad with all of our hearts and cannot believe our time with him has been cut short. As he often addressed in his music and to his fans, Jarad battled with prescription drug dependency,” Harris’ mother, Carmella Wallace, tells the outlet.
“Addiction knows no boundaries and its impact goes way beyond the person fighting it,” she continues.
“Jarad was a son, brother, grandson, friend and so much more to so many people who wanted more than anything to see him defeat addiction.”
Wallace acknowledges that her son frequently rapped about his relationship with drugs, but she says he did so in order to reach out to fellow addicts, not to glorify substance abuse.
“We hope the conversations he started in his music and his legacy will help others win their battles as that is what he wanted more than anything,” she tells TMZ.
“We know that Jarad’s legacy of love, joy and emotional honesty will live on.”
It’s obviously too soon to say exactly what Juice WRLD’s legacy will be, but thus far, the tributes from both fellow artists and a legion of devoted fans have served as a testament to just how many lives he touched during his short time on Earth.
More importantly, many of those fans and artists are speaking openly for the first time about the ravages of addiction and its shocking impact on the music world.