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Tragic Death of a Young Star

Lil Peep dies at 21 from drug overdose

Sophia Kaufmann

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This past week on November 15, Gustav Åhr, aka Lil Peep, was found unresponsive by his manager in his tour bus before a scheduled show in Tucson, Arizona. Lil Peeps manager Adam Grandmaison said that first responders “rendered medical aid but they were unable to save him.” Police said that there was evidence of possible drug overdose, most likely from Xanax. Lil Peep was only 21 years old.

Photo labeled for reuse via Wikimedia Commons

In June, the New York Times described Lil Peep in an article as having “evolved into something like the scene’s Kurt Cobain, with several astonishingly gloomy and diabolically melodic releases, and a body that is in constant flux: hair dyed one color after another, an anarchy sign and the word ‘crybaby’ tattooed on his face.”

The Long Island rapper and singer blended emo and hip hop for a distinctive singing and rapping style. His music often highlighted his struggles with depression and opioid addiction over the years. His songs find a middle ground between hip-hop bluster and emo’s bulked-up anxiety. This blend gives his music a gloomy feel. He was considered a rising star in the hip-hop and emo world. This is shown in the lyrics of his 2017 song “U Said.” In the song Lil Peep says “Runnin’ away from you takes time and pain and I don’t even want to/ So I’m gettin’ high all week without you/ Poppin’ pills thinkin’ about you.” Lil Peep had sent signs of his struggling with addiction to everyone thought social media and his music. He was not glorifying his use, but rather saying he is an addict and calling out for help. He was crying out for help, but as a society we ignored it due to the normalization of drug use. People just assumed this is “his thing” and “what he does,” but this is a reminder of the effects of these things. In his most recent album “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1,” he is sending a message out through his songs.

On an Instagram post early Wednesday in the hours before his death, Lil Peep posted a video of him popping pills with the caption “I just wana be everybody’s everything I want too much from people but then I don’t want anything from them at the same time u feel me I don’t let people help me but I need help but not when I have my pills but that’s temporary one day maybe I won’t die young and I’ll be happy? What is happy I always have happiness for like 10 seconds and then it’s gone. I’m getting so tired of this.” He posted several other Instagram posts that his fans found haunting, including one post that reads, “When I die You’ll love me,” which received thousands of emotional responses from his fans.

Sarah Stennett, chief executive officer of First Access Entertainment, which partnered with the rapper last year, said in a statement to CNN that she was “shocked and heartbroken.”

“I do not believe Peep wanted to die, this is so tragic. He had big goals and dreams for the future which he had shared with me, his team, his family and his friends,” she said. “He was highly intelligent, hugely creative, massively charismatic, gentle and charming. He had huge ambition and his career was flourishing.” she said in the statement.

Stennett spoke to Lil Peeps mother and she has asked Stennett “to convey that she is very, very proud of him and everything he was able to achieve in his short life.” Peeps mother is truly grateful to the fans and the people who have supported and loved him. 

I hope Lil Peep’s death makes people our age re-evaluate the ‘xans and depression are cool’ culture that has been growing recently. Sad story ”

— Twitter via Robbie (@UnitedRobbie) November 16, 2017

The news of Lil Peeps death has caused new conversation about mental health and opioid epidemic in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two million Americans have become dependent on or abused prescription pain pills and street drugs. During 2015, there was a recored 52,404 deaths in the United States caused by overdose. 63.1% of those deaths involved an opioid.

“i hope lil peep makes y’all realize that mental health issues aren’t trendy and popping pills isn’t supposed to be fun.””

— Twitter

There has been a glorification of opioid use and self destructive things in pop culture, including rock and hip-hop music. Drug use has been deemed “cool” and due to this glorification and promotion, people are dying, and it was expected.

Other stars who have left us too soon due to drug overdose include:

Heath Ledger

Marilyn Monroe

Judy Garland

Michael Jackson

Prince

Ike Turner

and many more.

Trump has directed acting Health Secretary Eric Hargan to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency last month under the Public Health Services Act. This directs federal agencies to provide more grant money to combat the epidemic. Hopefully this raises even more awareness of this issue and the world can stop having to see such young people die due to the obliviousness of of their problems in society.

 

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