Well, it's official. Fentanyl killed Mac Miller. So says the L.A. County Coroner's Office anyway. And the L.A. County Coroner should know, considering they performed the post-mortem analysis. Okay, so the docs also found other drugs. In fact, the official cause of death was listed as "mixed-drug toxicity." But it's still safe to conclude that fentanyl killed Mac Miller. And the music industry lost yet another bright and shining light.
A young one too. See, Mac Miller was only 26 when he died. Read that again. Twenty-six. Sure Mac had been a rap star since he was 19. In fact, the Pittsburgh native's 2011 debut (Blue Slide Park) was the first independent LP to top the Billboard Charts since Tha Dogg Pound's 1995 Dogg Food! No foolin.' But seven years in the limelight didn't help Miller beat substance abuse disorder. And it sure didn't make him immune to the effects of fentanyl.
But oh what a seven years did Mac have. Even before Miller broke big his mixtapes featured mainstream producers Just Blaze, 9th Wonder and The Cool Kids, and featured the likes of Talib Kweli and Bun. B. Then when he really hit, XXL Magazine anointed him one of its highly-touted "Freshman Class." From there Miller appeared on the remix to Maroon 5's hit "Moves Like Jagger," had a track produced by Pharrell Williams and released another featuring Schoolboy Q.
Then things really started popping for Mac Miller. 2012-13 say him releasing tracks featuring such indie rap superstars as Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler, the Creator, Action Bronson and Jay Electronica, starring in a six-episode show of his own for MTV2, and touring with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz. And the next year Miller signed a reported $10 million deal with Warner Brothers Records and delivered a second season of his Most Dope Family show to MTV2.
The hits just kept on coming. So did the accolades. And so did the work. As Larry Fisherman, Miller produced such artists as SZA, Vince Staples, Lil B, Ab-Soul, Riff Raff, Smoke DZA, as well as himself. Plus, and perhaps most famously, Mac had a near two-year relationship with Ariana Grande.
How does a cat go from being at the top of their game and dating Ariana Grande to six feet under? Substance abuse disorder. It really is that simple. And also that heartbreaking. See, without treatment, addiction remains ever present. And no amount of money and no amount of fame and no amount of love can take it away. Hell, money and fame more often then not make matters even worse. And love? Well, love can go either way or both. Depending on the circumstances.
In Miller's case, it was both. Grande says she left him because of the drink and the drugs. She reportedly tried to keep him sober. Tried to be his rock. But in the end the relationship just became too toxic. For her, as well as for him. It's an old story. It's also all-too familiar, especially in this business of music.
Miller said that he became addicted to "purple drank" or "lean" during his 2012 Macadelic Tour. He reportedly quit taking the popular promethazine and codeine mix in November 2012, before shooting started on his MTV2 reality show.
Apparently though Miller didn't quit taking everything. Hence the break-up with Grande. And hence the overdose. Yes, the L.A. County Coroner's Office said Miller's blood also contained cocaine and alcohol. But the fact remains, fentanyl killed Mac Miller. Just as it did Prince. Just as it did Tom Petty. And just as it has scores upon scores of others, famous and not. And while most of those overdoses have been ruled accidental; folks too often forget they should also be ruled preventable.
Here's hoping better memories will help ensure an end to all the senseless deaths.