Juice WRLD would have been 23 today.
In honor of his birthday, his mother Carmela Wallace shared a touching tribute to the Chicago rapper, who she knew as Jarad Anthony Higgins. In her emotional note, Wallace said she thinks about her son every day.
“When you were born 23 years ago, I never expected that you would not to be here today celebrating your birthday,” she writes, according to Complex. “Although it has been nearly two years since you’ve been gone, I still think about you every day and losing you has changed my life forever. I’m glad that we always made sure that we said goodbye when we left each other because we didn’t know when we would see each other again.”
She recalled buying her son an MP3 player for his 9th birthday, but he discovered it before she was able to surprise him.
“I remember when you found your birthday gift the year that you turned nine,” she says. “It was a white mp3 player that I hid in my closet. When you found it, you were too excited to hide the fact that you found it and proceeded to share with me how much you wanted a white mp3 player for your birthday. I thought about taking it back to the store and surprising you with something else, but I decided to give it to you anyway.”
Carmela Wallace, Juice WRLD’s mother, wrote him a letter today for his birthday pic.twitter.com/lHTSl9WyQY
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The message was accompanied by the last photo taken of her and her son on Oct. 17, 2019. Wallace, who established the Live Free 999 Fund in her son’s honor, also reflected on his connection with his fans and the legacy he leaves behind.
“You touched the world through your music with honesty and transparency,” she adds. “You shared a message of healing and sincerely desired to make a difference in the lives of others. I still receive messages from fans saying how your music helped them with anxiety and depression. I promise to continue your message of healing and use Live Free 999 as an avenue to normalize the conversation around mental health and substance dependency and help those who suffer in silence.”
She ended her loving note, writing, “Happy 23rd Birthday Jarad, I love you dearly. I’m thankful for the time that we had and will forever cherish every moment that we shared.”
Juice WRLD died of an accidental overdose on Dec. 8, 2019, but his music lives on. His second posthumous album, Fighting Demons, will be released on Dec. 10 featuring the single “Already Dead,” while his documentary Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss will debut Dec. 16 on HBO Max.
Juice WRLD was the third most-streamed artist in the U.S. this year and his posthumous album Legends Never Die was the fifth most-streamed album of 2021.