Grande’s simple, poignant salute came in the form of a black and white photo of Mac sitting outside, looking up at the camera. No caption accompanies the intimate photo, and Grande disabled comments on the Instagram post.
Miller, who had recently released his album Swimming, died on Friday (September 7) after an apparent overdose. His family confirmed his death in a short statement, saying, “Malcolm McCormick, known and adored by fans as Mac Miller, has tragically passed away at the age of 26. He was a bright light in this world for his family, friends and fans. Thank you for your prayers.”
Grande and Miller’s love story began back in 2013 when they collaborated on her single “The Way.” They remained friends and occasional collaborators for three years before taking their relationship to the next level in 2016. The Sweetener singer announced in May 2018 that they had split after two years of dating, noting that she was “grateful to have him in my life in any form” and describing Miller as “one of my best friends in the whole world.”
Miller was similarly gracious about Grande, wishing her the best after their split and adding that he was happy for her after her engagement to Pete Davidson. He told Rolling Stone, “I’ve cared about her for a long time as a person. I am genuinely happy that that’s how she moved. That’s good for her. Go, go, keep going! As she should. I’m just being real. That’s good. Now I have space for me. And that’s great too.”
Grande has previously been candid about how Miller’s substance abuse problems affected their relationship. A few weeks after their split — and following his DUI arrest — she shared a statement responding to people who blamed her for her ex’s behaviors, writing, “I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety. Of course I didn’t share how hard or scary it was while it was happening, but it was. I will continue to pray from the bottom of my heart that he figures it all out and that any woman in this position does as well.”
Grande is the latest to remember the late rapper on social media, as several artists — including Chance the Rapper, Kehlani, and Solange — have expressed their grief over Miller’s shocking death. See some of those tributes in the video below.