The life of rising rapper and producer Hella Sketchy -- born Jacob Tyler Thureson -- was tragically cut short when the 18-year-old died on June 27 of a reported drug overdose. Signed to APG and Atlantic Records, Hella Sketchy released his self-titled debut album this past March. In the wake of her son’s untimely death, Hella Sketchy’s mother Judy Thureson reached out exclusively to Billboard to share a very personal message about his passing, the opioid crisis and its impact on today’s youth and their families, and how medical, government and other officials must “come together and suggest a different way of triaging this everyday tragedy.”
June 24 was the day the neurologist came to inform us that my son’s EEG results were not good. Jacob had been in a coma for 11 days. The doctor told us that, in the six days since Jacob’s last test, he was starting to see a decline in my son’s brain activity. The doctor was guarded, defensive and even angry about giving us this news and providing us with further details. He definitely wasn’t trying to sugarcoat anything. In his opinion, we had maybe a week left with our son before he would be declared brain dead. With that declaration, the state of California dictates that a patient must be taken off of life support.
I am very proud of how my husband Erik handled not only the news but the doctor. Erik asked very pointed questions while at the same time trying to get the doctor’s guard down. The doctor was combative. He repeatedly interrupted Erik and clearly didn’t want the conversation to go on for long. Erik continued to be patient and kind, asking things like, “How do you do this? Where do you get the strength to deliver this news? How do you prepare for this?” My husband’s calm compassion eventually wore the man’s guard down a little, and he began to simply share with us.