The Tragic Death Of Mac Miller

When rapper Mac Miller died on September 7, 2018, from an accidental drug overdose at just 26, it was the culmination of a years-long struggle with drug abuse and depression. Sadly, it was also a death Miller's own lyrics had correctly predicted in multiple songs, including on the track "San Francisco," where Miller had rapped "Suppose I'll die alone from an overdose of some sort." Miller was just one of many rappers unlucky enough to have this kind of foresight.

Despite the pessimism of some of his lyrics and difficulty of his personal struggles, Miller was a beloved figure in the rap world. As Entertainment Weekly (EW) pointed out in an article appropriately called "Why everyone loved Mac Miller," the online consensus following his death was that he'd be remembered as someone who was "endlessly curious, unflinchingly kind, and universally beloved" (both via Twitter).

Miller had an honesty and openness about his struggles that seemed to endear him to people. In an industry where white rappers are usually the butt of jokes, Miller — in time — came to earn respect. Born in Pittsburgh as Malcolm McCormick in 1992, Miller's musical talent was apparent from an early age, reports EW. Unlike other rappers who'd come from hardscrabble backgrounds, Miller had grown up solidly middle-class, according to a remembrance in his hometown paper, the Pittsburgh Gazette. But a solid foundation wasn't enough to save him from the drugs he began to experiment with while on tour for his first album, at age 19, says Billboard.

Mac Miller's death

Miller had been unhappy about the reception to his debut album and about being branded a "frat rapper," reports Billboard. He also got heavily into promethazine, an antihistamine, and lean, a concoction says consists of a "combination of prescription-strength cough medicine, soft drinks, and hard, fruit-flavored candy." Miller was also forthright about his use of cocaine, angel dust (per Entertainment Tonight), as well as alcohol. In an interview with Rolling Stone shortly before his death, Miller claimed to no longer be struggling with drugs and that he was doing well, despite a recent DUI arrest.

As many fans may remember, there were those who pointed to girlfriend Ariana Grande as the "cause" of Miller's struggles during this period, though Grande made it known she would not accept the blame, saying, "I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be," per Rolling Stone. A month after that piece ran, Miller was found dead in his California home. A toxicology report later found that Miller had died from a mix of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol, says the Washington Post, and his death was ruled an accidental overdose.

The investigation into Mac Miller's death

According to court documents examined by Reuters, Miller believed he was buying oxycodone, Xanax, and cocaine before his fatal overdose. Instead, what Miller was sold actually contained fentanyl, a drug known to be "50 times more potent than heroin," per Reuters.

In October of 2019, three men were indicted on federal charges for their role in supplying Miller with the counterfeit drugs. Chillingly, U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna was quoted during the announcement of the indictments as saying that the dealers were not only aware Miller had died as a result of their drugs, but that they had continued to sell them even after they fully understood the danger, according to Reuters. The three men have not yet stood trial for their role in Miller's death.

Miller's final album, Swimming, was released just two weeks before his death, but has gone on to be his best-selling to date. According to Hypebeast, the album finally went platinum in February of 2021 — a bittersweet achievement for an artist who likely had so much more music to offer.