The musician, producer and DJ shared photos with his late mother on social media and spoke about feeling a "cosmic gut punch" of grief
On Thursday, the Grammy winner posted to X (formerly known as Twitter) and informed fans of Barbara's death, sharing photos of them together and writing about how she's supported his decades-long career.
"my momma just passed away. i would trade a kidney to take away the cosmic gut punch I feel right now," wrote Diplo, 44, who was born Thomas Wesley Pentz to Barbara and father Thomas Pentz on Nov. 10, 1978 in Tupelo, Mississippi.
"I cried in the airport bathroom I made small puddle and then almost slipped . Now i’m gonna walk into the ocean and look for a shark to fight, might be the only cure for grief," continued the "Lean On" performer.
Alongside a photo of his young self with Barbara and one of his two sisters, Diplo added of his mother, "She was my first and purest love. I hope someone will make me feel safe like you always did."
In a follow-up post to the social media platform, he wrote that Barbara "was always a devout supporter of my music" and recalled details of their relationship as he launched into music as a late teenager and young adult.
"she was always on myspace as djmom and a lot of my friends had her in their top 16 cause she always posted positive messages and loved that I was happy making music," said Diplo. "she followed me and every project and I always made her a double xxl shirt of my new album."
While Barbara's cause of death is unknown, Diplo also provided some insight into her condition as of late.
"she was restricted to a chair and oxygen tank the past ten years but I lit up her life everytime I would come home," he wrote. "even two days ago she posted hearts on my page."
Diplo's statement concluded with a message of appreciation for Barbara. "i’m glad she got to see me create and grow and be just a little bit successful," he expressed. "she gave me so much confidence even when I was broke and feeling lost."
In an additional post on his Instagram, Diplo said that he and his sons had spent more time than usual with the extended family in Florida recently, as one of his sisters, Amy, died last month. He did not provide further details.
"[My mom] loved my babies too — she was so proud of the little men they are becoming. She got to spend time with them last month with me because of Amy. I'm so happy that happened," he wrote. "My sister died in July and I think she brought our family together more than we have ever been. My mom was suffering a lot in her soul but also her body was fighting a fight she wasn't going to win."
He continued, "Momma knew me and my dad & my sister Kelly are OK. She knows we are good — we gave her that peace. My dad held her hand at the last breath 🤍 they been married since high school. We are safe but she needed to be with my sister Amy somewhere better. I miss you Barbara Jean, you were the brightest light in my life."
In a 2013 interview with The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Barbara spoke about watching her son's rise to success, noting that she and his father were "very, very, very, very proud of our son."
The interview went down shortly before the 2013 Grammy Awards, where Diplo was nominated for producer of the year, non-classical. While he didn't win the award, the musician went on to win three in the future — best dance recording for "Where Are Ü Now" with Skrillex and Justin Bieber and best dance/electronic album for Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü in 2016 as well as best dance recording for "Electricity" with Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa in 2019.
"Wesley has been on the cutting edge a long time and he's helped other people along the way to get out there," Barbara told the outlet in 2013. "Whether he gets the Grammy or not, it's well-deserved. He's earned it. If he gets it, that's great. If he doesn't, I'm still so proud of him."
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