Mac Miller Dead at 26

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Mac Miller has died at the age 26, Billboard has confirmed. TMZ reports Miller died  an apparent overdose.

The Pittsburgh rapper, singer and producer was reportedly found dead in his San Fernando Valley home on Friday (Sept. 7) afternoon. 

His family released a statement on the tragedy, asking for respect during this difficult time. "Malcom McCormick, known and adored by fans as Mac Miller, has tragically passed away at the age 26," they wrote. "He was a bright light in this world for his family, friends, and fans. There are no further details available as to the cause his death. Thank you for your prayers. Please respect the family’s privacy at this time."

Miller's label, Warner Bros. Records also released a statement, mourning the loss one their greatest talents. “All us at Warner Bros. Records are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic news  Mac Miller’s untimely passing," Tom Corson, co-chairman and COO  the label wrote. "Mac was a hugely gifted and inspiring artist, with a pioneering spirit and a sense humor that touched everyone he met. Mac’s death is a devastating loss and cuts short a life and a talent huge potential, where the possibilities felt limitless. We join all his fans across the globe in extending our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.” 

In late August, the rapper (born Malcolm James McCormick) was formally charged with two counts DUI after a May 2018 car crash. That accident came weeks after he and Ariana Grande announced their breakup after two years dating. Miller spoke openly about his struggles with addiction over the years. In a 2015 interview with Billboard, Miller spoke about pushing back against his drug habits after his debut blew up. "I was doing a lot drugs around that time, which is another difference now: I’m not doing as many drugs," Miller said. "It just eats at your mind, doing drugs every single day, every second. It’s rough on your body."

In that same interview, Miller said his fear death pushed him to create as much music as possible: "I’ve got to make sure I make all this music so when I die there’s albums and albums."  

Miller was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and released his first mixtape in 2007 at the age 15. After a series mixtapes and successes in local rap competitions, he signed to independent label Rostrum Records in 2009, also home to fellow local star Wiz Khalifa. Miller's growing fanbase due to his dexterous flows and amicable persona led to viral success with singles like 2011's "Donald Trump" (which earned a lawsuit threat from the pre-presidential business mogul in 2013; in 2016, Miller appeared on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore to eviscerate Trump's politics) and "Knock Knock," and the eventual release his 2011 ficial debut album Blue Slide Park, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart — the first independently distributed album the 21st century to do so. 

While the resounding success Miller's debut LP made him a star at age 20, he ten found himself the target critics for frat-ready hits like Slide's "Party on Fifth Ave," and received negative reviews for the album in publications like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone. He dialed back the easygoing party vibe his early work for more experimental, meditative later albums like 2013's Watching Movies With the Sound Off and 2014's GO:OD AM, which didn't generate chart hits on the level  Blue Slide Park, but solidified Miller's fanbase, won over many critics, and kept him as an in-demand touring attraction and steady album seller. 

The only Hot 100 top 40 hit Miller had in his lifetime was as a featured artist on "The Way," the 2013 top 10 breakthrough hit for burgeoning pop star Ariana Grande. Though Miller and Grande's chemistry was kept strictly to the record (and a kiss in its music video) at the time, by 2016, the two would start a relationship, first appearing together publicly at that year's MTV Video Music Awards. The two would maintain their personal and pressional relationship for the next two years, with Grande appearing on Miller's The Divine Feminine single "My Favorite Part" that September, and Miller performing "The Way" with Grande at the One Love Manchester concert, following the terrorist attack outside the former's concert at Manchester Arena in May 2017.

However, by May 2018, the couple had broken up, with Grande confirming the split as amicable. Shortly after the announcement, Miller was arrested for a DUI and hit-and-run after crashing his Mercedes and leaving the scene the California accident. Following news the incident, Twitter response that blamed Grande for Miller's apparent spiraling inspired Grande to speak up about what she referred to as a "toxic relationship," saying that she "tried to support his sobriety and prayed for his balance for years" and that she continues "to pray from the bottom my heart that he figures it all out." 

Miller was never formally tried for the incident, and in August this year, he released his fifth album Swimming — his most personal LP to date, dealing with many his personal demons, though most it was recorded before his breakup or crash. It received the strongest reviews his career, and scored a No. 3 debut on the Billboard 200, his fifth consecutive top five debut on the chart. "I really wouldn’t want just happiness,” he told Vulture in a prile published just this Thursday (Sept. 6). “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."