Juice WRLD Laid to Rest at Private Illinois Funeral: 'Rest in Peace My Dear; Mommy Loves You'
Rapper Juice WRLD, who suddenly died at the age of 21 earlier this month, has been laid to rest.
Family and friends of the late “Lucid Dreams” rapper, whose real name is Jarad Anthony Higgins, gathered together on Friday during an open-casket funeral at Holy Temple Cathedral Church of God in Harvey, Illinois — near his Chicago hometown — to say their final goodbyes.
In the funeral program obtained by TMZ, his mother Carmela Wallace left an emotional tribute to her son, writing, “My dear son Jarad, God trusted me to raise you and I poured all I had into you as the Lord guided me. We were inseparable and even though you left home early, we were always in each other’s hearts and always had a special bond.”
“We were always overjoyed to see each other, and you still called me ‘mommy’ as you hugged and kiss me when you saw me,” she continued. “Your love was pure and innocent, and your heart was genuine. You truly cared about people and wanted to make the world a better place.”
“I am going to miss you dearly,” she added. “Rest in peace my dear one; mommy loves you.”
The outlet reported that the rapper remained conscious while en route to a local hospital, where he died shortly after. A spokesperson for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed to PEOPLE that he was pronounced dead at 3:14 a.m. on Dec. 8 at Advocate Christ Medical Center.
Juice WRLD’s siblings — Brian, Alyssa and Maya Wallace — left a joint message dedicated to their brother in the funeral program as well. Opening with a Plato quote, their message read, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, fight to the imagination and life to everything.”
“Jarad, you brought life, light and laughter to everyone you met. We will carry you in our hearts always. We love you,” they concluded.
His grandma Cecilia Darden also left a touching message to Juice WRLD. “My dear Grandson, you brought smiles, laughter and love into [our] lives,” she began.
“I loved being a part of your life and watching the happy little boy grow up to become a thoughtful, caring and a talented young man,” she continued. “Thank you for all the love and joy that you gave us. I am happy that you got a chance to live out your dreams.”
“You would always end our phone conversations with, ‘I miss you Grandma,'” she recalled. “My love for you will never end, and I miss you Jarad, my dear Grandson.”
The program also included black-and-white portraits of the late rapper, along with photo collages of the Chicago native and his loved ones.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office tells PEOPLE that the musician’s cause of death has officially been deferred pending additional studies, including cardiac pathology, neuropathology, toxicology and histology.
His mom, Carmella Wallace gave a statement to TMZ on Thursday, explaining that her son battled a drug addiction and that his family was learning to cope with the loss.
“We loved Jarad with all of our hearts and cannot believe our time with him has been cut short,” she said in the statement. “As he often addressed in his music and to his fans, Jarad battled with prescription drug dependency.”
She added, “Addiction knows no boundaries and its impact goes way beyond the person fighting it. Jarad was a son, brother, grandson, friend and so much more to so many people who wanted more than anything to see him defeat addiction.”
“I recently had the pleasure of working and touring with Juice WRLD,” Minaj, 37, said. “I had a great conversation with him and while we walked to the stage, he held my hand and told me to stay calm and to pray. He said that he had been trying to do just that.”
“I was so shocked to hear him — of all people — tell me that, but right there in that room with him telling me that, I actually did feel calm and I felt like, ‘Hmm… what am I actually worried about?’ ” she continued. “I felt like he was a kindred spirit. And looking back now, I wish I did something differently, or said something to help.”
Minaj added: “He spoke to me in detail about how in love he was with his girlfriend, and how passionate he was about music, and when he was in the studio with me, he did so many songs so quickly. He was honest and pure about what he felt and that inspired me.”
“I know this is a women in music night, and I’m so honored to be in the presence of all of these great women … So I know it’s about that, but it doesn’t feel comfortable for me to talk about me when someone so important to our culture just died,” the musician said. “I want to honor him tonight and send my condolences to him and his family and his girlfriend and his friends and everybody.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.