The rapper Mac Miller has died at the age of 26, his family have confirmed.
The Los Angeles county coroner’s office said he had been found unresponsive in his home in the Studio City neighborhood. Variety reported that he had died of a suspected overdose.
Miller’s family said in a statement that the rapper had died on Friday but gave no further details. “He was a bright light in this world for his family, friends and fans,” the statement said.
Miller, born Malcolm James McCormick, had been open about his struggles with substance abuse. In August, Los Angeles police charged the rapper with driving under the influence after he crashed his car into a power pole in May.
Artists including Chance the Rapper, J Cole, Diplo, Pusha T, Solange, the 1975, Earl Sweatshirt, Questlove, Wiz Khalifa and Shawn Mendes have paid tribute to the late star, who released his most recent album, Swimming, to acclaim this August.
“All of us at Warner Bros Records are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic news of Mac Miller’s untimely passing,” the co-chairman and chief operating officer, Tom Corson, said in a statement. “Mac was a hugely gifted and inspiring artist, with a pioneering spirit and a sense of humor that touched everyone he met. Mac’s death is a devastating loss and cuts short a life and a talent of huge potential, where the possibilities felt limitless.”
Miller was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 19 January 1992. He released a number of mixtapes under the name EZ Mac and as part of the group the Ill Spoken during his teens. His debut studio album, Blue Slide Park, was released on Rostrum Records in 2011. It became the first independently distributed hip-hop album to debut at No 1 on the Billboard album charts, but received poor reviews. Miller later said that the criticism and resulting stress led to him developing an addiction to “purple drank”, a combination of codeine and promethazine.
His second album, 2013’s Watching Movies With the Sound Off, fared better among critics and established his production skills, which he executed under the pseudonym Larry Fisherman. Initially considered part of the frat-rap scene, his sound shifted throughout his career. He became a peer of artists including Thundercat, Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples who pioneered progressive combinations of hip-hop and jazz. He developed his sound on his 2015 album GO:OD AM, on which he “[grappled] frankly with fame, addiction, recovery and the struggle to be a decent person”, said Billboard.
“I used to rap super openly about really dark shit,” he told Vulture magazine in a profile published on 6 September, “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.”
It was widely – and, Miller said, incorrectly – assumed that his 2016 album The Divine Feminine concerned his new relationship with the musician Ariana Grande, and that its follow-up, this year’s Swimming, referenced their split.
The couple’s separation became public knowledge this May after Miller was arrested for allegedly crashing his car while drunk and then fleeing the scene on foot. Officers discovered him at home, where he reportedly confessed to driving drunk and fleeing the scene. He was taken into custody and released on $15,000 (£11,600) bail.
Responding to a fan on Twitter who blamed her for the split, Grande referred to their relationship as “toxic”.
“I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety & prayed for his balance for years (And always will of course) but shaming / blaming women for a man’s inability to keep his shit together is a very major problem. I didn’t share how hard or scary it was while it was happening but it was. I will continue to pray from the bottom of my heart that he figures it all out and that any other woman in this position does as well.”
Comments on Grande’s Instagram account appear to have been disabled following an influx of comments blaming her for Miller’s death.
It is the latest in a spate of deaths of high-profile rappers in the last 12 months. In November 2017, Lil Peep died of an overdose. In June 2018, the controversial XXXTentacion was was shot dead in Florida.
Miller’s US tour was due to start in San Francisco on 27 October. “I just wanna go on tour,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “The show is going to be special every night. I wish it started tomorrow.”
When asked how he manages negativity, Miller told Vulture: “I really wouldn’t want just happiness. And I don’t want just sadness either. I don’t want to be depressed. I want to be able to have good days and bad days … I can’t imagine not waking up sometimes and being like, ‘I don’t feel like doing shit.’ And then having days where you wake up and you feel on top of the world.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report