On November 15, 2017, at the age of 21, one of the most exciting and charismatic young artists in the country died of an as-yet unspecified drug overdose in the back of his tour bus.
In life, Lil Peep stood out precisely because of how few places he fit in. He was a vulnerable badass. His music was an emo-infused take on hip hop -- a new and oxymoronic combination that actually made sense in his hands. Here was a young man with a naturally beautiful face that was marked up by heavy tattoos, the largest of which was a scrawl over his right eyebrow that read "Cry Baby" (the title of one of his 2016 mixtapes). Here was a young man who could look positively feral one moment and wow crowds at Paris Fashion Week the next.
While, on the surface, his death seems typical -- ultra-creative, troubled young musician overwhelmed, too soon, by substance abuse -- like Lil Peep himself, this particular tragic death is actually something the world has never seen before.
It is not new for media vultures to circle after a famous person dies. The National Enquirer has been at the forefront of this for decades. The publication put a photo of Elvis in his casket on its front page in 1977. In 1993, it paid $5000 for a photo of River Phoenix that had been acquired by a photographer who had broken into a funeral home. In 2012, the paper splashed an obviously-surreptitiously-taken picture of Whitney Houston in her casket across the cover. The paper re-used that photo once again in 2015, juxtaposed with a photo of Whitney's dying daughter, Bobbi Kristina, lying in her hospital bed. Other, more respected publications aren't above such actions -- ET Online was the first to publish a photo of paramedics trying to save a dying Michael Jackson in 2009.