TMZ has issued a rare apology after facing criticism from rapper T.I. for publishing details on his older sister’s cause of death.
Precious Harris Chapman, 66, died in Atlanta after she lost consciousness while driving her brother’s Dodge Avenger, and crashed on Feb. 12.
She had previously appeared on the rapper’s VH1 reality series T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, and was well-known in her local community.
The toxicology results on Chapman, legally known as Antoinette Chapman, were released by the Fulton County medical examiner’s office on Thursday. TMZ posted details from the report, angering T.I., who took to his Instagram Story to blast the outlet for its reporting.
“Y’all been profiting off of people pain,” T.I. said. “The families who are grieving, y’all are putting information out there that really disrupts their grieving process. But see for the most part, what we do is, we look the other way. You know why? Because those people are celebrities. Ain’t nobody feel sorry for celebrities, they rich. They live the life that they want, they live the way that nobody else can live. Why should we feel sorry for them? Yeah, I get that.”
Chapman’s fatal collision was initially believed to have been caused by an asthma attack.
TMZ was one of the first outlets to report Thursday that the crash was instead caused by an irregular heartbeat, triggered by cocaine use that caused Chapman to crash into a pole.
The website later retracted the article and said its reporting was “inappropriate and wrong.”
The site changed its story to an obituary detailing Chapman’s commitment to her community, involvement in her church and contributions to organizations, including Saving Our Daughters, Hosea Feed the Hungry and the Covenant House.
“Earlier Thursday, we posted a story about T.I.’s sister, Precious Harris Chapman, and reported the Medical Examiner’s official findings on her cause of death … we were wrong to do it,” TMZ said. “T.I. and his family are hurt and furious, and they have a point.”
Other outlets also published details from the toxicology report, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which said it obtained the information after filing an Open Records request.
Citing the report, the AJC said Chapman’s death was ruled an accident.
She had a history of health problems, including hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease, and died as a result of “cocaine toxicity,” which caused increased blood pressure and “abnormal heart rhythms,” the paper said.