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Lil Peep, rapper and fashion star, dead at 21

Lil Peep attends the Balmain Menswear Spring/Summer 2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on June 24, 2017 in Paris, France.
Lil Peep attends the Balmain Menswear Spring/Summer 2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on June 24, 2017 in Paris, France.

WARNING: This story contains graphic language.

Lil Peep, a New York rapper, died Wednesday of a suspected drug overdose at the age 21.

Police in Tucson, Ariz., say Lil Peep, whose real name was Gustav Ahr, was found dead on his tour bus ahead of a scheduled concert in the city Wednesday night. Sgt. Pete Dugan says evidence pointed to an overdose of the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, although no official cause of death has been announced.

A representative for the performer confirmed reports of his death Thursday.

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“I am shocked and heartbroken,” said Sarah Sennett of First Access Entertainment, a management and publishing company that partnered with Lil Peep last year, in a 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.”

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“I’ve been expecting this call for a year,” the rapper’s manager Chase Ortega tweeted early Thursday morning. “Mother f**k.” Since sharing the tweet, Ortega has made his account Twitter private.

Lil Peep’s emotional, downtrodden lyrics gained a cult following through a series of mixtapes released online, that gained millions of plays on SoundCloud. His numerous tattoos and striking appearance caught the fashion world’s attention. GQ reported earlier this year that he made runway appearances for several labels in Europe.

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Born Nov. 1, 1996, Lil Peep grew up in Long Beach. He told Noisey back in July that the name “Lil Peep” came from his mother. “My mom has been calling me Peep my whole life,” he said. “That’s how I got the name.”

Lil Peep openly spoke about his drug use in his lyrics.

“I suffer from depression and some days I wake up and I’m like, ‘F**k, I wish I didn’t wake up,’” he told Pitchfork in an interview published in January. “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 sh*t out.”

In a video posted on his Instagram page on Tuesday night promoting his show in El Paso, Texas, the rapper said he took “six Xanax, and I was lit.”

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He continued, “I’m good, I’m not sick. I’ll see you all tonight.”

WARNING: The video below contains discussion of illicit drug use

After news of his death spread, many people from the music industry remembered the late rapper on Twitter.

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—With files from the Associated Press