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Juice Wrld: Cause of death of Chicago rapper remains under investigation - Chicago Tribune

Juice Wrld: Cause of death of Chicago rapper remains under investigation - Chicago Tribune
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The circumstances surrounding the death of a young and gifted Chicago musician remained under investigation Tuesday by the Chicago Police Department, two days after he collapsed at Midway Airport.

, who performed as Juice Wrld, was still pending the completion of an examination by the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

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Higgins was from Calumet Park, a rising star who had landed a $3 million deal with Interscope Records and earlier this year had been named one of two artists chosen by McDonald’s to be part of a philanthropic campaign, representing their hometowns by partnering with a local charity and performing concerts.

In a video prepared as part of the Beat of My City campaign, Higgins talked about how he found his passion in music and how it allowed him to express his feelings — and why it was good for his young fans to do the same.

“That is part of being honest," Higgins said in the interview. "Telling people how you feel. Not beating around the bush. You could miss your opportunity, not expressing yourself. ... I never really had nothing to hide. There was never really no filter in my head like, would it be not cool to talk about your emotions?”

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Meanwhile, Higgins’ family was still absorbing the loss of a “good kid” who had found his creative outlet.

“He was just always very warm, very respectful, very attentive,” said his aunt Karen Wallace. Wallace posted the Beat of My City video last month.

“I loved it,” she said. “It was a more mature Jarad, coming into himself.”

McDonald’s on Tuesday evening declined to comment on Higgins or the campaign.

Higgins had suffered convulsions and went into cardiac arrest at a private hangar at Midway Airport over the weekend, according to law enforcement sources.

The search yielded 41 “vacuum-sealed” bags of marijuana, six bottles of prescription codeine cough syrup, two 9 mm pistols, a .40-caliber pistol, a high-capacity ammunition magazine and metal-piercing bullets, according to the sources. Two men identified by police as working security for Higgins were charged with misdemeanor offenses for illegally possessing the guns and ammunition.

The officers and agents had been waiting at the Atlantic Aviation hangar at Midway early Sunday because they suspected the private plane from Los Angeles carrying the musician was carrying contraband, the sources said.

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A spokesman for the department said investigators were still working Tuesday to determine who the drugs belonged to. Meanwhile, the examination into Higgins’ death included toxicology screens to determine what, if any, drugs, were in his system.

The rapper’s girlfriend, asked by police at the scene if he had any medical issues or had ingested any drugs, replied that he takes Percocet, a painkiller, and “has a drug problem,” the sources said.

Higgins has also been open on social media, media interviews and in his music about his struggles with drug use.

Higgins’ music career took off after he gained support from freestyling on his high school’s radio show, according to a 2018 Tribune profile. He racked up millions of streams on Soundcloud for music that blended “elements of meandering, mumble-rap singing against drill-lite percussion and pop-punk melodies ... bridging the gap between urban and suburban youth experiences; an angst-riddled adolescence that feels just as romantically rejected and isolated as it wants to turn-up."

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In the interview for the Beat of My City campaign, Higgins talked about understanding that he was not alone in his struggles and that there are more topics to tackle than the traditional ones, like heartbreak.

"Me talking about certain things can help somebody else through what they going through, as well as me trying to figure it out myself,” he said. " ... There’s other issues to talk about other than heartbreak. You got anxiety. You got substance abuse. There’s just a lot of issues in the world to talk about."

Near the end of the video, Higgins talked about how music ultimately allowed him to express himself best.

"Music is such a beautiful thing. Like, I love myself as far as the way I make music, the way God made me, the way God wired me to do the things I do.”
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