Thinking about the past. Ariana Grande posted her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller’s recent album cover on her Instagram Stories on Friday, January 17 — the day his posthumous album, Circles, was released. Clearly, the 26-year-old has the late rapper on her mind following his tragic death in September 2018 at 26 years old.

Mac died from a “mixed drug toxicity” that included “fentanyl, cocaine and ethanol” at the time, and the Florida native reflected on what she was going through when she heard the news. Luckily, her close pals were around to help her. “My friends know how much solace music brings me, so I think it was an all-around, let’s-get-her-there type situation,” she told Vogue in July 2019. “But if I’m completely honest, I don’t remember those months of my life because I was a) so drunk and b) so sad. I don’t really remember how it started or how it finished, or how all of a sudden there were 10 songs on the board. I think that this is the first album and also the first year of my life where I’m realizing that I can no longer put off spending time with myself, just as me.”

Ariana Grande Listening to Mac Miller's Album
Courtesy of Ariana Grande/Instagram

This is hardly the first time the “7 Rings” singer has posted about her late ex, who she dated for two years before they called it quits in May 2018. One week after his death, Ari shared a touching note about her former love. “I adored you from the day I met you when I was 19, and I always will,” she wrote. “I can’t believe you aren’t here anymore. I really can’t wrap my head around it. We talked about this. So many times. I’m so mad, I’m so sad, I don’t know what to do. You were my dearest friend. For so long. Above anything else. I’m so sorry I couldn’t fix or take your pain away. I really wanted to. The kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved. I hope you’re OK now. Rest.”

Then, while the Grammy winner was on her Sweetener tour, she played some of Mac’s music before she got on stage. “Mhmm my mind is all over the place and v emotional,” she wrote via Twitter on March 19 and even gave a shout-out to her fans for their support. “Thank you. I don’t know what I’m posting right now, TBH. At all. I’ll hit you tomorrow because … tonight was too much. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you. And I yeah. I love this song, @pharrell. I love you, @alfredoflores.”

On January 8, Mac’s family revealed they would be releasing new tunes in his honor. “Here we are. The act of having to write this at all feels surreal. At the time of his passing, Malcolm was well into the process of recording his companion album to Swimming, entitled Circles,” the post began. “Two different styles complementing each other, completing a circle — Swimming in Circles was the concept. He had been working with Jon Brion, who after hearing some early versions of the songs, cleared his calendar to help Malcolm fine-tune them. After his passing, Jon dedicated himself to finishing Circles based on his time and conversations with Malcolm. We are eternally grateful to Jon and to those who gave their best to the difficult and emotional task of putting out this body of work.”

“This is a complicated process that has no right answer,” the statement continued. “No clear path. We simply know that it was important to Malcolm for the world to hear it. One of the most difficult decisions in the process is how best to let people know about it — how to communicate meaningfully while keeping sacred what should be kept sacred. So, this will be the only post on any of his channels. Information regarding this release, his charity and Malcolm himself will be found at @92tilinfinity.”

Ariana Grande wearing a Bandana With Mac Miller
Courtesy of Ariana Grande/Instagram

Lastly, the message ended on a high note. “Thank you to all the fans who’ve supported him unconditionally through the years. We miss him. We are left to imagine where Malcolm was going and to appreciate where he was. We hope you take the time to listen. The look on his face when everyone was listening said it all. With humility and gratitude, Malcolm’s family.”

Hopefully, Ariana is able to get some closure. RIP Mac, you’re missed.

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