The rapper died of an apparent drug overdose on Friday. He was 26.
Mac Miller had been open about his history with drug abuse and depression long before his death.
The 26-year-old rapper died on Friday, ET confirms. According to TMZ, he died of an apparent overdose. The news comes weeks after Miller was charged with a DUI stemming from a May arrest, but that's not the first time he had struggled with his sobriety.
Like many musicians, the rapper's music often served as a diary of his inner demons. His songs and albums chronicled his battle with depression and drug abuse, and he wasn't afraid to admit that personal experiences inspired some of his darkest lyrics.
Here's everything Miller has said about drug abuse, depression and death:
On his independently-released mixtape, Faces, Miller referenced the death of another star who lost his battle with drugs: Philip Seymour Hoffman. Rapping about how "a drug habit like Philip Hoffman will probably put me in a coffin," the rapper mentioned his use of cocaine, codeine cough syrup and angel dust.
A year later, Miller appeared to kick some of those habits with the release of new -- and happier -- album, GO:OD AM.
In an August 2015 interview with Billboard, Miller admitted that Faces was "super depressing." "I’m not as depressed anymore. Making music when you’re depressed is great therapy, but I wanted this album to be in a different headspace," he noted, adding that he was learning to "live a little bit more."
"Before, I was super-insular all the time, just staying in a room by myself, and it’s so easy to paint this horrible picture of life when you’re not giving yourself a chance to live it. I was too worried about the legacy that I would leave behind -- how I would be remembered if I died," he confessed. "That was my whole thing. Like, you never know, man, so I’ve got to make sure I make all this music so when I die there’s albums and albums. But now, I’m going to make sure I do some shit in life, too."
Miller said he was worried about dying, because he was "doing a lot of drugs" -- which he had tried to keep more under control. "It just eats at your mind, doing drugs every single day, every second. It’s rough on your body. That was the plan with Faces' [closing song]. 'Grand Finale' was supposed to be the last song I made on earth. I don’t feel that way as much anymore."
The rapper said at the time that he was "way healthier," but not sober. He still smoked cigarettes, but said his drug use was "way better" than it was. "I was afraid of what my life had become. But once you just breathe and relax, you come to terms with it. This is my life, I enjoy it, and it’s OK that I enjoy it. It’s OK that I’m young and rich. Let’s have fun. You’ve got to look in the mirror and tell yourself to stop being a little bitch: 'OK, dude, you’re 23 and this is your f**king life. Go out there and do it, stop hiding,' because that was me before," he shared. "I’m not 100 percent clean, but I’m not a piece of shit anymore. I can look in the mirror and be like, 'I look OK.'"
One month later, Miller told Larry King that his depression and drug use were intertwined. "I had a drug problem for a long time. It wasn't just in music, but I definitely was going through a drug problem and I think it was more my state of mind. I was just pretty depressed," he said.
"I think it started [with success]," he continued. "It's funny, because you talk to people, and they say, 'What do you have to be depressed about? You have money.'... Fame is tricky because you read what's said about you, and you know what you know to be true, and the lines start to blur."
His song "Brand Name" dropped that same month, in which he rapped, "To everyone who sell me drugs / Don't mix it with that bullshit, I'm hoping not to join the 27 Club." The 27 Club is an infamous list of musicians, artists and actors who died at age 27, including Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and Anton Yelchin.
In a February 2016 documentary for Fader, Miller again discussed overdosing -- but admitted that he "hates being sober."
"I'd rather be the corny white rapper than the drugged out mess who can't even get out of his house. Overdosing is just not cool," he said. "There's no legendary romance, you don't go down in history because you overdosed. You just die."
Things seemed to be going pretty well for Miller, until his breakup with Ariana Grande. Just weeks after the couple went public with their split, he was arrested on a charge of DUI, after driving his car into a power pole in the San Fernando Valley. He and his two passengers fled the scene on foot, and he was arrested at his home an hour later. In August, Miller was charged with two counts of DUI for the incident, and in a July interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 on Apple Music, he called his arrest a "stupid mistake."
"What you don’t understand is that I lived a certain life for 10 years and faced almost no real consequence at all. No version of the story that didn't end up with me being fine," he explained. "I made a stupid mistake. I'm a human being, like, drove home drunk. But it was the best thing that could have happened... I needed that. I needed to run into that light pole and literally like, have the whole thing stop."
"But those things are important, you know, and you get the urge and the itch to tell people, 'Don't worry, I'm OK,'" he said, giving a shout out to the family, friends and fans "who have been with me through being a 19-year-old wide-eyed kid to being a self-destructive, depressed drug user to making love music to all these different stages." "They see something like that and they worry, so your first reaction is, 'Let me tell them I'm cool.'"
Aug. 3, 2018:
Miller openly admitted that he used promethazine and cocaine in the years after his chart-topping debut album, Blue Slide Park, but in an interview with Rolling Stone last month, he insisted his drug use was in the past.
"If a bunch of people think I am a huge drug addict, OK. Cool. What can I really do? Go talk to all those people and be like ‘Naw man, it’s really not that simple?'” he said. “Have I done drugs? Yeah. But am I a drug addict? No.”
Of his DUI arrest, Miller said: “I loaded the gun for them. I got into that sh*t. That’s my mistake. What does that specific event mean for my whole character? That’s a different conversation. But people are going to draw their own conclusions. And I have a past history with that shit, so they’re going to naturally assume that that means I’m back going through it. I can’t change it. I’m not going to lose sleep over it, though. I’d rather just continue living my life and see where that goes.”
The same day, Miller dropped his latest album, Swimming, in which he made several references to his depression.
On "Come Back to Earth," he wrapped that he was "just looking for a way out of my head." "'Cause on the surface I look so fine / But really I’m buggin’, buggin’ / Makin’ somethin’ out of nothin,'" he rapped on "Perfecto."
"And sometimes, sometimes I wish I took a simpler route / Instead of havin' demons that's as big as my house, mhmm," read the lyrics of "2009." "Isn’t it funny? We can make a lot of money / Buy a lot of things just to feel a lot of ugly."
In "Small Worlds," in which Miller mused that that he "don't want to grow old, so I smoke just in case," he also rapped about how close he was to being "gone." "You never told me being rich was so lonely/Nobody know me, oh well/Hard to complain from this five star hotel," he said. "Tell myself to hold on/I can feel my fingers slipping/In a motherfucking instant I’ll be gone.”
Sept. 6, 2018:
Depression was at the top of Miller's mind in his latest interview with Vulture, which was conducted the week of Aug. 13, but published on Sept. 6.
“I really wouldn’t want just happiness,” he replied, when asked about how he manages hurt feelings and negativity. “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... I can’t imagine not waking up sometimes and being like, ‘I don’t feel like doing shit.’ And then having days where you wake up and you feel on top of the world.”
Miller rapped about those hurt feelings in his last performance, on Sept. 3 at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles. Watch below.
If you or someone you know is facing mental and/or substance use disorders, please call AMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357).