As American Idol’s Nicki Minaj, rapper Drake, and more celebrities visited the Los Angeles hospital where rapper Lil Wayne recovers, speculation swirls as to what’s really behind his recent health scare.
The New Orleans native suffered several serious seizures last week that hospitalized him twice. His condition was considered so dire at one point that the celebrity gossip site TMZ reported that the 30-year-old was close to death. Those reports proved to be false, but little official information has been released as to the cause of Wayne’s current medical condition.
“They’ve done the tests, and they did tests last year,” said one friend close to the rapper. “They even gave him seizure medicine last year that was supposed to help. It did for a while, but I’m not sure how much Wayne takes care of himself when no one is around.”
Some friends continue to point to Weezy’s (as he’s often called) long habit of sipping “syrup, sizzurp, lean, or Texas tea” as the real cause of his ailing health. They also say that it’s simply not true that Wayne stopped the addictive habit, which involves sipping prescription-strength cough syrup laced with codeine and other extras that can increase the high.
“He’s tried to quit. I’m pretty sure he wants to quit. But he would have to go away and get help for that, which he isn’t ready to do,” said the friend. “I’d like to think this would scare him into to stopping, but it’s not that simple. I think quitting cold would kill him for sure. He needs rehab, but I’m not sure who can talk him into that. Maybe all this talk will get him to think twice.”
Known for being perfectly blunt during interviews, Wayne acknowledged the difficulty he’s had leaving behind the habit that’s particularly all the rage down South. He continued to struggle to quit even after of one of his rap idols, Pimp C, died from an overdose of the concoction in 2007. Pimp C rapped as part of the group UGK and released a popular tracked titled “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” on which he professed his love for codeine-laced cough syrup.
Wayne also found success in 2008 with the track “Me and My Drank,” which also detailed his addiction to the sometimes deadly mixture.
He told MTV News in 2008 that quitting the syrup “feels like death in your stomach when you stop.” Wayne added, “Everybody wants me to stop all this and all that. It ain’t that easy.’’
Family members say they remain frustrated that the rapper still has ready access to the drink, given that the seizures became more pronounced late last year. They wonder why those around him won’t just cut him off and force him into rehab. Lil Wayne is divorced with one child from his marriage to Toya Carter and three children from other relationships.
“I just don’t now how long he can go on doing this and lasting like this,’’ said a family member. “Somebody is helping him, and they have to stop, because damage is being done to him even if we can’t see it. He has kids and people who need to him to get better and get off that stuff for good.’’
Those inside the rapper’s camp say Wayne’s quite aware of his family’s concern and other responsibilities, but also point out that he’s the boss and has the final word on how he lives his life.
“We can’t make him do anything he ain’t ready to do,’’ said a source in the rapper’s inner circle. “It’s that simple.’’