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COLUMN: Let fans grieve the loss of important icons in their lives


Rapper Mac Miller died Friday at age 26.  Anne Anderson Buy Photos

After Mac Miller’s death, many fans around the world shared their grief — with good reason.

Early last Friday, news of 26-year-old Miller’s death became public, followed by many tweets outpouring grief and appreciation for the musician. Since then, other musicians, including Donald Glover and Elton John, have given their condolences and tributes to Miller.

Yet even if his fans never met or knew Miller personally, people around the world are mourning his loss greatly too — and that grief should be treated as valid.

Too many people police the grief of others under parameters including how well somebody knew someone. The people suggesting fans of Miller are overreacting or looking for sympathy fall into that category.

Let people mourn the people and things they love, regardless of level of interaction. 

Miller let the world know him through his music. Through his albums, he let his listeners know a piece of his mind. In a way, Miller allowed anybody who listened, to even just one of his songs, to understand for a moment just a little bit about who he was.

About his music, he said to Vice, "Now I take my time, and I think the music tends to come from deeper inside. I want everything that I say to have a purpose. "

Even beyond the music, his interviews with outlets such as Rolling Stone let his personality touch all of his fans. In this recent interview, he was asked about any prospective relationships, and he responded with "Hell no! Bro, I’m not about to be in another relationship. I’m chilling. I can barely take care of my dog."

Miller’s ability to share publicly his personality, hopes, creative process, story and struggles made him an inspiration for many. For his fans, his music resonated with them and made a connection without a face-to-face interaction. And that’s beautiful and special and warrants the feeling of loss. 

Miller had been open about his struggle with addiction and depression, so to learn his death was due to an accidental overdose is heartbreaking in itself. Miller’s death drove home how fleeting the lives of people you hold dear are and how they can end out of nowhere in a second.

Miller was a rapper who made it to the top with his music and his work. He never used racial slurs in his music, never had allegations of assault and he lived with respect for others. 

Combine being a talented musician with being a kind person, and you get an icon who is loved by many and is an inspiration for many.

Losing someone you look up to and relate to is never easy. There are people in our lives that affect us greatly despite a lack of personal relationship.

What it comes down to is that loss of a life well lived is incredibly devastating, especially when it happens at a young age. 

You are allowed to experience emotions, no matter how joyous or melancholy they are. Beyond that, emotion is natural.

Even if you would rather push emotion aside, it is not your right to choose that for any one else. 

People loved Miller because he made people feel they were not alone. He made music that other musicians valued. He had a presence that carried over through TV, interviews, concerts and his social media.

Radio personality Peter Rosenberg tweeted about how he had “never seen such a wide range of people affected by someone’s passing”. That tweet among many others goes to show Miller was a person everyone could love, and everyone would miss.

Miller made a difference in the world. And for some, he made all the difference in their world. 

Miller was going on tour. His newest album just dropped last month and did incredibly well, making $30,000 in sales. His newest album was the first Mac Miller album I personally had ever listened to start to finish, and from that alone I know how solemn it is to acknowledge that it was his last. 

Let people feel valid in their sadness for losing someone who changed their perspective, their beliefs, even their life. We are allowed to acknowledge the sad permanence of death, and we are allowed to grieve.

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