Gustav Elijah Åhr was born in 1996 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. When he was four years old, his family moved to Long Beach, New York State, where he grew up. His mother, who works as an elementary school teacher, has German and Irish roots; his father Karl Johann Ahr, a college professor, German and Swedish. He learned to play the trombone and tuba.
Growing up, Åhr’s father was mostly absent and his upbringing was “apathetic and drug-addicted”, with his father and mother formally divorcing when he was 14. He broke up with his then-girlfriend Emma Harris shortly thereafter, and an on-off relationship ensued. Most of his songs are about his childhood sweetheart Emma. He attended Lindell Elementary School and then Long Beach High School in Lido Beach, New York, where, despite infrequent attendance, he had good grades and was on the Dean’s List for the time he attended He later dropped out of high school and took online courses to earn his diploma. Shortly thereafter, he began posting his music on YouTube and SoundCloud.
His brother introduced him to the punk scene through bands such as The Casualties, Minor Threat, and NOFX. After leaving Long Beach High School without a degree, Åhr made up for it through online courses. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to begin his career as a rapper.
Shortly before his death, he was involved with Arzaylea Rodriguez for about two months; before that, he had a brief relationship with actress Bella Thorne. After Ahr’s death, she tweeted “Peep, you deserve more out of life. Life didn’t do your greatness justice.” He described himself as bisexual in August 2017.
On November 15, 2017, at the age of 21, he died shortly before a scheduled concert in Tucson, Arizona, after being hospitalized for drug abuse poisoning. It was reported that he had unknowingly ingested a combination of the sedative alprazolam (Xanax) and the painkiller fentanyl shortly before his previous concert in El Paso, Texas. Seven tablets of alprazolam alone was an average dose for the rapper, but the combination of the two drugs caused cardiac arrest. The autopsy report stated that in addition to fentanyl and alprazolam, residues of cocaine, marijuana, and the opioid painkillers tramadol, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, and hydrocodone were (also) detected in Åhr’s body. No alcohol could be detected.
Well-known artists such as XXXTentacion, Diplo, Post Malone, Pete Wentz, Marshmello, Mark Ronson, Zane Lowe, Sam Smith, Bella Thorne, Trippie Redd, A$AP Nast, Rich Brian, Playboi Carti, Ugly God, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Xan, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Pump, Dua Lipa, and El-P showed their condolences and paid tribute to him.