Federal agents were in the process of searching the luggage of Juice WRLD and his entourage when the Chicago-area rapper experienced a medical emergency in a private hangar at the city's Midway Airport Sunday, ultimately being pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The Chicago Tribune's sources say agents were waiting at the hangar because they suspected the rapper's private plane from Los Angeles contained contraband, and were searching the baggage for guns and drugs when the 21-year-old started convulsing or having a seizure before going into cardiac arrest. More of the latest:
- One agent administered two doses of Narcan to the rapper, who was born Jarad Higgins; the emergency treatment is used in suspected opioid overdoses. Higgins "woke up but was incoherent" at that point, per the Tribune, but was ultimately pronounced dead at 3:14am, around an hour after his plane landed. The Cook County medical examiner's office says tests including "cardiac pathology, neuropathology, toxicology and histology" must be carried out before the cause and manner of death can be determined.
- No drug charges have been filed, but sources say the agents found, in bags with no name tags, 41 "vacuum-sealed" bags of pot and six bottles of prescription codeine cough syrup. They also allegedly found two 9 mm pistols, a .40-caliber pistol, a high-capacity ammunition magazine, and metal-piercing bullets, and two men who police say worked security for Higgins were charged with illegally possessing the weapons and ammo.
- Higgins, who had rapped in the past about not living past 21, had just turned that age Dec. 2. He was on his way to a birthday party to be held in his honor Sunday night in Chicago when he died, Fox News reports. TMZ notes that in video from his final hours, he was in good spirits.
- "What's the 27 club? We ain't making it past 21," he rapped in the song "Legends" from his Too Soon EP. The "27 club" is a reference to musicians including Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix who died at that age. As for the reference to "21," TMZ reports he was talking about fellow rappers Lil Peep and XXXTentacion, who died in 2017 and 2018.
- The New York Times takes a deep dive into "the tragic end of the SoundCloud Rap Era," calling Higgins the "most successful recent ambassador" of what was once "the decade's most promising musical movement"—the same movement that produced Lil Peep and XXXTentacion. But with all three of them now gone, "the distorted blend of singing and rapping, boasting and pain, that shaped SoundCloud rap feels like it’s reached its terrible conclusion." Read the full piece here.
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