Family, friends and fans gathered at the Allegria Hotel on Saturday to celebrate the life of the late Gustav Ahr, also known as rapper Lil Peep.
Lil Peep, who was born and raised in Long Beach, attended Long Beach High School before he moved to California in 2014 to pursue his music career. The rising star toured the world performing songs of the hip-hop and emo genres, visiting places like Europe and Russia and building a large fan base.
In August, the rapper released a new album, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1.”
While about 500 fans waited outside the hotel to enter the ceremony, more than 200 people filled the hall inside as Peep’s close friends and family, including his mother, Liza Womack, spoke at a lectern about their memories with him.
Womack described Peep as tender, vulnerable and someone who hurt when his friends’ parents rejected him when he started to change his appearance with tattoos and piercings. She said he “despised” the social scene of his high school and questioned the norms he was pressured to fit into.
“Gus got fed up with that world,” Womack said. “He rejected it, and he rejected being molded into a box. And when he locked himself in the garage and got his first tattoo, he began to make his rejection of the box public. He dared the world.”
Womack said people judged him by the way he looked, and called on those in attendance to re-evaluate their own judgments.
“Use this moment right now as a time to reflect on your actions,” she said. “Ask yourself these questions: Do I really know this person? Am I assuming this strange or scary looking person has no plans for himself? Have I asked him his plans? Am I dismissing this person because he does not match my definition of a good kid? Do I assume he does not work? Be honest — Gus was.”
Fans travelled from all over the country to pay their respects to Peep.
“When I met him about a year ago, he was the sweetest person I’ve ever met. I hope everyone remembers him as the loving and amazing person that he was,” said fan Michael Shanks, who travelled 11 hours from Columbus, Ohio to attend the ceremony. “Sometimes I don’t think we deserved him.”
“I was really attached to his music — I listened to him all the time and it was heartbreaking to hear what happened,” said fan Bobby Lunny who drove from York, Pa.
“He was a big inspiration,” added Lunny’s friend, Berto Rojas. “He was one of the only artists that hit home for me. He really spoke on truth and what was going on with his life. I really felt for him.”
The ceremony followed the 21-year-old’s sudden death on Nov. 15 when he overdosed on Xanax on his tour bus before a show in Tucson. Family members believe the pills were laced with an unknown substance and that his death was not intentional. According to multiple news reports, police are treating Peep’s death as a criminal investigation as some believe it was a homicide.
After the ceremony, the crowd made its way to the beach outside the hotel to throw flowers into the water as the sun set behind them.
Womack urged guests to learn from the material Peep left behind.
“Please do not make assumptions about people or events in ignorance,” she said. “Try to step outside your own box and open your mind to new ideas. My sweet little peeper is gone now but he has surely left us a lot of wonderful material to review and consider. I am so proud of him — you have no idea.”