Rapper Fredo Santana, Who Battled Lean Addiction, Passes Away At 27

By David Konow 01/23/18
The 27-year-old rapper was open about his desire to get help.
Fredo Santana
Photo via YouTube

While many rock stars have battled addiction, it has also proven to be a problem in the hip-hop community as well. Last November, up-and-coming rapper Lil Peep died at the age of 21 from an overdose of fentanyl and Xanax, commonly referred to as "Xans" in the hip-hop world.

And now Chicago rapper Fredo Santana has died at 27; he had been very public about his consumption of "lean," a concoction of cough syrup and soda. His cause of death is still under investigation.

Santana (born Derrick Coleman), was discovered unresponsive at home by his girlfriend on the evening of January 19th.

There is speculation that Santana may have passed away from a fatal seizure. The rapper has suffered from seizures—a common side effect of drinking lean—in the past. 

Last October, Santana tweeted that a friend “found me on da floor shaking, bleeding out the mouth, having a seizure, shit could a been the end.” According to Vibe, Santana wound up in the hospital with kidney and liver failure.

Santana also tweeted about considering rehab before he passed away: “Hopefully I can be the face to [show] ni***s to slow down an we got our whole life ahead of us, fuck being rock starts gettin high, I got ptsd. I was running from my old life tryna get high, didn’t want to face them demons. I'm getting help, I might just go to rehab.”  

In certain sects of the hip-hop world, Xanax and lean are part of the culture. Last summer, a rapper named Russ stirred up controversy when he wore a t-shirt that read, “How much Xans and Lean do you have to do before you realize you’re a fucking loser?”—to which Santana replied on Twitter, “Until I can stop thinking bout my dead homies an the trauma that I been thru in my life that’s when I’ll stop.”

In the wake of Santana’s death, fellow artists have paid their respects on social media. Complex also reported that DJ Mustard, who has worked with some of hip hop's biggest names, poured a bottle of cough syrup down the drain, saying, “It’s over for me, people. It’s over. Fuck this shit. Fuck that, it’s over."

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.