Gustav Åhr, the hip-hop artist known as Lil Peep, was found dead on his tour bus outside a club in Tucson, Arizona, on Wednesday night. He was 21.
Lil Peep had gained national attention over the past two years with a sound that blended hip-hop and rock, particularly the dark, moody textures of emo, punk and post-hardcore. His most recent mixtape, Come Over When You're Sober (Part One), garnered millions of spins on SoundCloud, and his videos for “Awful Things,” “The Brightside,” “Benz Truck,” “BeamerBoy” and “Witchblades” all crossed the million-view mark on YouTube.
Born in Pennsylvania and raised on Long Island in New York, the son of a schoolteacher and a college professor, Lil Peep moved to Los Angeles to pursue his music career, living first in an apartment on Skid Row and later with a girlfriend in Echo Park. He broke through in 2016 with a pair of mixtapes, Crybaby and Hellboy, which showcased his penchant for emotionally raw lyrics delivered in hazy cadences and unexpectedly melodic choruses. “I used to wanna kill myself,” he rapped on “OMFG.” “Came up, still wanna kill myself.”
“I suffer from depression and some days I wake up and I’m like, fuck, I wish I didn’t wake up,” Lil Peep said in a January 2017 interview with Pitchfork. “Some days I’ll be very down and out, but you won’t be able to tell, really, because I don’t express that side of myself on social media. That’s the side of myself that I express through music. That’s my channel for letting all that shit out.”
TMZ reports that when Lil Peep's manager found his body, “There was drug paraphernalia around him, and evidence of a possible overdose.” Tucson authorities believe he died of an overdose of the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, though toxicology reports are still pending.
Outpourings of grief and sympathy from Lil Peep's tourmates, collaborators and fellow hip-hop artists began flooding social media last night. “[I]n the short time that i knew you, you were a great friend to me and a great person,” rapper Post Malone tweeted. “[Y]our music changed the world and it'll never be the same. i love you bud. forever.”
“I am shocked and heartbroken,” Sarah Stennett, CEO of Lil Peep's management company First Access Entertainment, said in a written statement. “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. He was highly intelligent, hugely creative, massively charismatic, gentle and charming. He had huge ambition and his career was flourishing.
“I have spoken to his mother and she asked me to convey that she is very, very proud of him and everything he was able to achieve in his short life,” Stennett added. “She is truly grateful to the fans and the people who have supported and loved him.”