Despite reports that [artist id="1562979"]DJ AM[/artist] (born Adam Goldstein) might have been depressed over a recent breakup with model Hayley Wood before his death on Friday, law enforcement sources believe the celebrity DJ’s death was an accidental drug overdose, not suicide.
Citing unnamed police sources, TMZ reported that recovering addict AM had developed a dependency on Xanax and a number of other anti-anxiety drugs after the fiery plane crash he and Blink-182′s Travis Barker survived last year. Both men were seriously injured in the accident, which took four lives and resulted in Barker and AM receiving a number of painful skin grafts to treat the second- and third-degree burns they suffered.
TMZ reported that AM had developed a serious anxiety about flying, something he had to do frequently for his many DJ jobs all over the country. The site, citing unnamed sources, said AM’s doctors prescribed Xanax and other anti-anxiety medications to relieve the fear of flying, but that those drugs helped trigger a “recent” relapse, noting that AM was not abusing the drugs for very long before his death.
Among those weighing in on what might have killed AM was addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky, the host of VH1′s “Celebrity Rehab.” Pinsky told The Associated Press that he believes the pain medications AM was taking to treat the injuries he sustained in last year’s plane crash in South Carolina might have led him to relapse after more than 11 years of sobriety.
“It very slowly and subtly reawakens addiction,” Pinsky said of pain medication. “I’m not saying it was inappropriately prescribed; I’m saying he didn’t know the risks.”
AM, 36, was found dead in his Soho apartment in New York on Friday evening, reportedly with a crack pipe and prescription pills nearby. Like a number of friends who expressed grief over AM’s death over the weekend — including musical partner Travis Barker , ex-girlfriend Mandy Moore and a host of fellow DJs — Pinsky said he was upset by the loss of someone he considered a “very close” friend. The doctor said AM had been a model for people going through addiction and praised him for his selflessness in helping others get clean.
“He [sponsored] other people, and in his words, [would] go to the mat supporting people on their recovery,” Pinsky said. “He was someone I referred people to to learn about recovery.”
On Saturday, the New York medical examiner’s offices said the results of an autopsy were inconclusive, and further toxicology and tissue tests were necessary to determine a cause of death. Those tests will take several weeks to complete. TMZ reported that its sources said the evidence in the case strongly indicates that the cause of death will be a combination of crack cocaine and the anxiety drugs.
AM was set to star in an MTV special in October called “Gone Too Far,” in which he stages interventions with other people battling addictions and discusses his own struggle with drugs; the network has not yet announced its plans for the show.