Heartbreaking loss. TikTok star Cooper Noriega captivated social media audiences for three years. His sudden death on Thursday, June 9, brought even more attention to his life.
The 19-year-old influencer was found dead in a parking lot on Thursday, according to Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner. Us Weekly confirmed the following day that Noriega’s death was under investigation.
Noriega’s surprise passing came just days after he launched a safe space for his fans to openly discuss mental health.
“I’ve been struggling with addiction since I was 9 years old, you may think that’s crazy but that’s the life I’ve been dealt,” the YouTuber wrote via Instagram on Sunday, June 5. “I would like to use the influence I’ve been given to create a space built on spreading awareness and normalizing talking about mental illness.”
The rising star explained that his “goal” was to “eventually open a rehab where people aren’t traumatized at the end of their recovery and where the staff members are [trustworthy] people.” He further details his plans via a TikTok video the same day, describing why he started a Discord server for the public.
“If you’re really into getting your emotions out, or whatever, come join,” Noriega said in the video. “I created [the server] because of how much I love you guys and how much I struggle with it myself. I want you guys to not be alone and [to] feel safe.”
The influencer previously opened up about his own battle with addiction and drugs in March 2021. He told Hollywire at the time that he started taking pills when he was 11. “It was kind of like my choice to be sober, like, four months ago I had a mental breakdown, and I was like, ‘I can’t be doing this anymore,” Noriega said. “A lot of people on social media are fake. … I think that’s stupid.”
Following his death, fellow social media star Taylor Caniff vowed via Instagram to continue Noriega’s mission. “Rest in peace man I still have a stop for you on my couch,” Caniff, 26, replied to his late friend’s post. “Ima build this rehab in your honor.”
Blake Gray also mourned the loss of his pal, writing, “My heart hurts. [It] doesn’t feel real. Please tell me it’s not real. You always had the most positive energy no matter where we were. Rest easy Coop.”
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