Mac Miller, multi-instrumentalist and hip hop artist, dead at 26

The rapper, producer and occasional guitarist was a talented musician who took a live approach to hip hop.

Mac Miller on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’ Image: Randy Holmes / ABC via Getty Images

Mac Miller, a renowned hip hop artist whose talents stretched far beyond rapping, died Friday in his Los Angeles home. He was 26.

Miller was found dead from an apparent overdose, multiple outlets reported. “Malcolm McCormick, known and adored by fans as Mac Miller, has tragically passed away at the age of 26. He was a bright light in this world for his family, friends and fans,” his family said in a statement.

The Pittsburgh native was more than a producer and rapper with a golden tongue. He taught himself piano, guitar, bass and drums at an early age, and preferred using live instruments on all his five studio albums. He was even fond of whipping out a Telecaster at his concerts.

Miller released his fifth record, Swimming, only a month ago. Besides a display of his deft lyricism, the LP was praised for its jazzy elements and rich instrumentation; it’s a mature, sophisticated effort that stands out in the sea of trap-oriented hip hop. “Small Worlds,” for instance, features some delicious guitar playing—by none other than John Mayer himself.

It’s nice to learn about yourself by sitting down and picking up a guitar and just playing,” he said in a short Fender documentary about his musical inspirations. “It’s a whole entire journey of self-exploration, because it’d be so easy to just throw a beat on and rap and call it an album. But I have to expose some part of myself that I’m uncomfortable with with every album.”

Watch the Fender video here:

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