Jarad Higgins, better known by his stage name Juice WRLD, passed away on Sunday morning at only 21 years old. As friends and fans mourn the devastating loss of a true talent, the rapper and singer’s family has confirmed that Juice WRLD had long been battling an addiction to prescription painkiller medications.
Higgins suffered a seizure at the Chicago Midway airport and was taken to the hospital, where he died shortly after. It has been confirmed that Juice WRLD swallowed “multiple narcotics” in an effort to hide them from the federal agents that were searching his private plane.
According to reports, the pilot of Juice WRLD’s private plane alerted authorities after he noticed Higgins and his friends bringing handguns onto the flight.
The police seized Juice WRLD’s plane upon landing, turning up 70lbs of marijuana, multiple guns, and some codeine cough syrup.
Reports about Higgins swallowing multiple painkillers prior to his seizure in the airport seem to have an explanation now: Juice WRLD was likely attempting to hide the drugs from the police.
Juice WRLD was outspoken about his addiction to medication–particularly Percocet, which is a combination of oxycodone, a strong opioid, and acetaminophen, a pain reliever.
He spoke about his drug addiction frequently throughout his discography. Often he’d reference his drugs with affection, but just as frequently with self-awareness and frustration:
Higgins’ family told TMZ that they hope their son’s untimely death encourages others struggling with addiction to seek help.
“We love Jarad with all of our hearts,” they said. “As he often addressed in his music and to his fans, Jarad battled with prescription drug dependency.”
The family says Juice WRLD hoped his music would help other young people work through their pain and overcome addiction.
“Addiction knows no boundaries and its impact goes way beyond the person fighting it,” they said. “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.”
“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.”