Rapper Lil Peep, who grew up in Long Beach and cemented his status as a rising talent with his unique blend of hip-hop and emo, died on Wednesday at age 21 in Tucson, according to The New York Times.
The musician, lyricist and occasional model, whose real name is Gustav Ahr, was raised in Long Beach and left high school early, moving to Los Angeles to pursue music. His posts on YouTube and SoundCloud, as well as a number of mixtapes, gained him a large fan base and quickly turned him into a rising star.
“He put out his first mixtapes in 2015, and last year he released two, ‘Crybaby’ and ‘Hellboy,’ which marked him as a potent, forward-looking synthesizer of styles with an uncanny knack for pop songcraft,” the Times wrote on Thursday. “Lil Peep’s music — simultaneously cocky and desperate, filled with woozy singing and nimble rapping — made him one of the most promising artists in the current generation emerging from SoundCloud.”
In August, the rapper released a new album, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1.”
According to The Times, Ahr was the son of a college professor father and an elementary schoolteacher mother, and took his name from a childhood nickname given by his mother.
His death made headlines in major publications such as The Times, Billboard, Rolling Stone and People magazine. Fans and friends expressed shock and sadness on social media, and many in the music industry, such as Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, Beats 1 radio host Zane Lowe, Post Malone, Rich Chigga and others paid tribute to the young performer.
"Peep was the nicest person," Marshmello, the electronic music producer and DJ said on Twitter. "Hanging out with him, talking to him about music, the song ideas we were going to do together and touring was amazing. Everyone will miss you man."
Sarah Stennett, the chief executive officer of First Access Entertainment, a company that worked with Lil Peep last year, confirmed his death in a statement to multiple media outlets. Though the exact cause of death is still unknown, The Times reported that Tucson police found evidence suggesting that the rapper died of an overdose of the anti-anxiety medication Xanax.
“I am shocked and heartbroken,” Stennett said, according to Billboard. "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.”