Pittsburgh mourns loss of rapper Mac Miller

Shown above is Mac Miller’s last post on instagram, which was shared on Sept. 6, the day before his death at age 26. Photo from @macmiller on Instagram.

Pittsburgh rapper and producer Mac Miller was pronounced dead Sept. 7 due to an “apparent” overdose at his Studio City home located in Los Angeles. According to the L.A. Times, Sarah Ardalani, the coroner’s spokesperson, stated that “Miller was found ‘unresponsive’ and declared dead at 11:51 a.m.”

Malcolm J. McCormick was 26 years old when he passed.

Since then, friends, family and fans paid tribute to Miller with a vigil held in Pittsburgh. The vigil took place Sept. 11 at Frick Park, also known as Blue Slide Park. Miller was remembered by all with music, memories and memorabilia placed by those who attended. Another memorial will take place at the same location Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., the date Miller was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh for the tour of his album, “Swimming.”

XXL Magazine published an article on Sept. 10 which stated that an autopsy has since been completed and additional tests are deferred as pending. While Miller’s body was returned to his family in Pittsburgh, investigators await a “full toxicology report” before determining a cause of death. XXL stated that “The announcement could take weeks or months according to Associated Press.”

In May, Miller was charged with a DUI after he fled the scene with two other passengers after he drove his SUV into a pole. Miller was later arrested at his Los Angeles residence where he admitted to fleeing the scene.

The incident happened soon after his breakup with singer and songwriter Ariana Grande.
Miller, who also went by his producer alias, Larry Fisherman, grew up in Point Breeze located near Squirrel Hill and Shadyside in Pittsburgh. Miller attended and graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School, which is the same school that other known Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa attended.

In 2010, Miller signed his first record deal with Pittsburgh-based indie record label, Rostrum Records. A year later, he would come out with his first album, “Blue Slide Park” on Nov. 8. The album went on to sell 140,000 copies in the first week and secured a No. 1 spot on the US Billboard 200 chart. The album became the first independently distributed album debut to top the chart since 1995.

Mac Miller is pictured on stage during one of his performances. Miller’s last tour occurred in 2016 with the release of his album, “The Devine Feminine.” Miller was originally scheduled to go on a nationwide tour of his album “Swimming” in October. Photo from covermesongs.com.

Miller went on to release four more studio albums with the addition of two EPs, a live album, 12 mixtapes and 31 singles. Miller and his friend and business partner, Quentin Cuff, founded the label REMember Music in 2013 for new upstarts.
In 2014, Miller signed a $10 million deal with Warner Bros. Records. Recently, Miller released his fifth studio album entitled “Swimming,” which would have been followed with a tour. The tour was scheduled to start Oct. 27 in San Francisco.
Although it was public Miller struggled with substance abuse, it is always a tragedy to see anybody pass away at such a young age. Miller was very open with his abuse in his previous 2014 mixtape, “Faces.”

On the 24-track mixtape, Miller raps the line, “Don’t tell my mama I got a drug problem” on the song “New Faces” which features rapper Earl Sweatshirt.

Miller died of an apparent overdose, which is a topic that should not be discounted for. Miller’s death was not that of a selfish act, which is a belief that surrounds the subject.

In a documentary with FADER magazine, Miller stated, “I’d rather be the corny white rapper than the drugged out mess who can’t even get out of his house.”

Addiction is disease, a mental illness many people have succumbed to. Miller’s death should shine light on the subject at hand and let people who struggle with this illness know they are not alone.

“The opioid epidemic is the Black Plague of our generation. It has no boundaries, it attacks the rich, the poor, people of all ages, all races, individuals with high IQ’s, professionals, white and blue collar workers,” said Christopher Feliciani, a judge in the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas and Drug Treatment Court. “It destroys lives, takes children, parents, spouses, siblings and leaves behind the most horrific remnants of guilt and insurmountable grief.”

Substance abuse is an issue that has been at an increase in recent years. Drug overdoses have killed more than 72,000 in the U.S. alone according to the Addiction Center. Already there have been 67 confirmed overdoses within Westmoreland County as of 2018 and 16 still pending, according to Westmoreland County’s website.

Miller gets ready to lead the crowd in the waving of Terrible Towels at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game. Miller often took part in this ritual when visiting Pittsburgh. Photo from eonline.com.

“Our community as a whole must continue its attack at all levels to combat this plague. I am convinced that it will be eradicated only with the combined efforts, sensitivity and financial and emotional commitment of our communities, government medical and law enforcement,” said Feliciani.

Miller may have had fans all around the world and may have seemed to be surrounded by people who loved him, but often times people struggle with addiction in silence. Miller’s death should break the silence and let everyone out there who is struggling know they can get the help.

Mac Miller/Malcolm McCormick will forever be missed. He will live through his music forever and will never be forgotten.

“Mac passing was definitely a giant loss for our city. It’s rare for anyone to make music that can make you feel something,” said John Domit, a 21-year-old producer who works at ID Labs in Pittsburgh. “Every kid growing up in southwestern Pa. can remember his music being engraved in their memories. We lost a genuine human being.”
Miller left his mark on Pittsburgh the same way he left his mark on all of us.

“I think his passing most definitely impacted my work at ID. It was very weird at first and even hard to go in there and see all of his plaques and early pictures in there. Definitely shows you how fragile life is. He was only 26, I’m 21 years old,” Domit said. “Things like this make me realize how lucky all of us are and right after he passed I made like five beats the next day. It for sure inspired myself to go harder.”

R.I.P. Mac Miller/Malcolm McCormick.

Published By: Stephen Dumnich

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