The young rapper died of an accidental overdose in 2018, one month after releasing his fifth studio album Swimming

By Claudia Harmata
January 08, 2020 12:43 PM
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Mac Miller fans will have one more album to remember him by.

On Wednesday, the late artist’s family surprised fans by announcing that the rapper — who died of an accidental overdose in 2018 — had been working on a companion album to Swimming at the time of his death. Thanks to a close friend and fellow singer, Jon Brion, the posthumous album has been completed and will be released on Jan. 17.

“Here we are. The act of having to write this at all feels surreal,” his family wrote in a statement shared to the late rapper’s Instagram page. “At the time of his passing, Malcolm was well into the process of recording his companion album to Swimming, entitled Circles.”

“Two different styles complementing each other, completing a circle — Swimming in Circles was the concept.” the statement continued. “He had been working with Jon Brion, who after hearing some early versions of songs, cleared his calendar to help Malcolm fine-tune them. After his passing, Jon dedicated himself to finishing Circles based on his time and conversations with Malcolm. We are eternally grateful to Jon and to those who gave their best to the difficult and emotional task of putting out this body of work.”

The family added that revealing the album has been difficult for them to navigate, and said that there would not be any promotional posts leading up to the LP’s release shared on Miller’s personal accounts. They have instead created a new account for more information.

Jon Brion
| Credit: Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan via Getty

“This is a complicated process that has no right answer. No clear path. We simply know that it was important to Malcolm for the world to hear it. One of the most difficult decisions in the process is how best to let people know about it — how to communicate meaningfully while keeping sacred what should be sacred. So this will be the only post on any of his channels,” they wrote. “Information regarding this release, his charity, and Malcolm himself will be found at @92tilinfinity.”

“Thank you to all the fans who’ve supported him unconditionally through the years. We miss him. We are left to imagine where Malcolm was going and to appreciate where he was,” they finished. “We hope you take the time to listen. The look on his face when everyone was listening said it all. with humility and gratitude. Malcolm’s family.”

Miller’s fifth studio album, Swimming, was released in August 2018, one month before the Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist (real name: Malcolm McCormick)was found dead in his Studio City, California, home on Sept. 7 at the age of 26.

Credit: Carl Timpone/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

The following November, PEOPLE confirmed that the “Hurt Feelings” rapper died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol. Miller’s family buried him in their hometown of Pittsburgh.

The coroner’s report revealed Miller was discovered on his bed, “kneeling with his face resting on his knees” by his personal assistant. After calling 911, the assistant moved Miller to the floor, where he performed CPR until emergency services arrived and pronounced the rapper dead. The assistant later told authorities that Miller “struggles with sobriety and when he ‘slips’ he consumes them in excess,” adding that the musician had had “several recent ‘slips,’” the most recent being three days prior to his death.

At the time of his death, an insider told PEOPLE that Miller spent the evening before his death watching football with friends.

Miller’s casual night with friends seemed so benign, “that’s why this is such a shock,” the insider said. “Everyone who he worked with was aware that he was delicate, but thought it was because of the new album [Swimming], nerves, nothing like this.”

Three men have been arrested and charged in connection to Miller’s death, according to Rolling Stone. The outlet obtained an indictment unsealed in October 2019 that outlined how Stephen Walter, Ryan Reavis and Cameron James Pettit were all accused of distributing drugs that caused the young artists death.

All three are set to appear in court in Los Angeles on September 29, 2020, CBS reported.

During his lifetime, the rapper was open about his battle with substance abuse. In a 2016 short documentary by music magazine The Fader, Miller explained how he came to rely so heavily on codeine-based cough syrup mixed with soda.

“It started by me just sitting inside all day and then it’s like, then you get bored. Then you’re like, ‘Well I could just be high, and I could have a whole adventure in this room,’ ” the “Self Care” rapper began. “I’m always like, if someone’s like, ‘You wanna try this?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah sure.’ It f—s you up when you have a bunch of money because you try a drug, you like it, then you can buy a lot of it. I went through about everything.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.