XXXTentacion was emerging as one of hip-hop’s most popular and polarizing figures when, on June 18, 2018, he was gunned down in his car after leaving a motorcycle shop in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
Born Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy on Jan. 23, 1998 in Miami, X burst onto the mainstream music scene in 2017. The track “Look At Me!” was his breakthrough after he spent several years working on his craft and building an online following. In fact, the SoundCloud rapper actually dropped the track 14 months before it hit the Billboard charts, and he had been producing music since early in 2013.
X’s dramatic rise and tragic death followed a troubled childhood. When he was 6, he attempted to stab a man who was “messing with” his mother. His mom struggled financially, so he was mainly raised by his grandmother. He was a self-described “misfit” in high school, and he dropped out in 10th grade.
That didn’t stop him from making a cultural mark, though, as his music won over much of the rap community. Following his death, numerous prominent hip-hop figures—including J. Cole, Joey Badass, and Gucci Mane—made public statements.
“I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here,” Kanye West wrote. “Thank you for existing.”
In interviews before his death, X repeatedly emphasized that he felt his purpose in life was to inspire the nation’s youth, stating that it was his goal to make at least 5 million kids happy. “I try to live as long as I can for these kids and die a good death, because if I don’t live long, they not gonna want to live long,” X said just months before he was shot.
He viewed himself as an inspirational leader, but his life was rife with controversy. X was consistently in trouble with the law: He faced charges of gun possession, aggravated battery, domestic violence, and tampering with a witness, and served jail time on multiple occasions.
Below is a timeline of XXXTentacion’s emergence, his time in the spotlight, and the events surrounding his passing.