Why Did Rick James Die? When Did Rick James Release His Music?

The loss of Rick James felt like a tsunami in the music industry. The singer known for “Super Freak” had successfully commercialized funk music by bringing it out of the clubs and into the mainstream throughout the 1980s. He had sold over 10 million songs, was a Grammy Award winner, inspired other artists, and became an icon in his own time.

Rick James was discovered dead in his Hollywood, California, home by his live-in caregiver on August 6, 2004. He was 56 years old. By that time, James’ history of hedonism, which included his use of hard narcotics, was public knowledge. He even referred to himself as a “symbol of drug usage and sexiness.” So, many admirers believed that James had died of an overdose.

However, autopsy results revealed that Rick James had died of a heart attack. That said, a toxicology investigation also indicated that he had nine different narcotics in his system at the time of his death

According to The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner

that “levels of any of the medications or drug combinations were not determined to be lethally high.” His long history of drug misuse, in addition to the chemicals already present in his body, is said to have had a role in his untimely death.

While the coroner’s findings did bring a sense of closure to James’ loved ones, it also left many of them saddened. It seems that James had abused his body to the point of exhaustion over the course of several decades. The events leading up to Rick James’ untimely demise are detailed here.

rick james cause of death

Soundtrack Artist Rick James Has Passed Away

He had a heart attack on August 6th and passed on the next day. His corpse tested positive for at least nine different narcotics, including methamphetamine and cocaine, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

In addition to those substances, toxicology reports found Xanax, Valium, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Vicodin, Digoxin, and Chlorpheniramine, according to David Campbell of the coroner’s office.

Campbell stated that there were no “on their own” fatal doses of any of the medications. According to the autopsy report, James died in a tragic accident.

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Chapter One: Rick James’s Stormy Childhood

He was the third of eight children born to James Ambrose Johnson Jr. on February 1, 1948, in Buffalo, New York. Having an uncle like Melvin Franklin, bass singer for The Temptations meant that music was almost in James’ blood.

However, a Mishmash of Problems Would Very Certainly Doom Him to Obscurity.

James got to see musicians like Miles Davis and John Coltrane perform because he accompanied his mother on her bar-hopping routes. James stated he was “kinky from an early age” and that he had lost his virginity when he was 9 or 10. In his youth, he experimented with narcotics and burglary.

James joined the Navy Reserve under false pretenses of age to avoid being drafted. Even though he avoided being recruited to serve in the Vietnam War by evacuating to Toronto in 1964, he was eventually caught skipping too many Reserve sessions and sent to Vietnam. A teenager was known as “Ricky James Matthews” while he was in Canada.

rick james cause of death

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James Johnson Jr., His Full Given Name

A member of his staff visited his Oakwood Toluca Hills condominium and discovered his body. According to Campbell, the coroner’s office took over the case since the 56-year-old Buffalo, New York, funk rocker had not seen a doctor in the weeks leading up to his death.

James was convicted of assault and sent to prison, where he continued his crack cocaine habit while he was there. He suffered a stroke in 1998. “Super Freak” was the singer’s biggest success in 1981. At the BET Awards in July, he sang the song “Fire & Desire” with Teena Marie. This would be his final show ever.

On June 29 in Beverly Hills, during the Rhythm & Soul Awards, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers honored him with their lifetime achievement award.


Sheela Sharma

About Author

Sheela is a skilled and experienced writer with a deep passion for all things related to the CBD industry. She enjoys writing everything related to CBD and Marijuana. When she isn't writing she likes to watch tv series and listen to podcasts.

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