DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) was smart, funny and intense

The Adam Goldstein that I saw last month was intense, likable and even, at times, funny. "I have an allergic reaction to drugs and alcohol," he said. "I break out in handcuffs."

So it seemed especially tragic to hear that this strong force had died, possibly of an accidental drug overdose. Here's a story I wrote for newspapers; because of the immediate time factor, I thought I should also put it here right away:

Adam Goldstein -- the nightclub star
known as DJ AM -- had survived two close calls, before being found
dead Friday, at 36.

One was a suicide attempt 11 years ago,
at the depth of his cocaine addiction, he told reporters last month.
“I put (the gun) in my mouth and I pulled the trigger. And it

The other was when a Lear jet crashed
in North Carolina, almost a year ago. Four people died, but Goldstein
and drummer Travis Barker survived.

“There's no reason why I should have
lived and they didn't,” he said. “And it's something that I
struggle with every day.”

Goldstein talked with Television
Critics Association reporters on July 29 about “Gone Too Far,” an
upcoming MTV series which shows him nudging young people into rehab.
“One addict working with another is the only way I think that I
would have gotten sober,” he said. “So … there's something that
we addicts and alcoholics have in common, that we can kind of just

A month after those comments, his body
was found in his New York apartment. The Associated Press quoted a
law-enforcement official (speaking on condition of anonymity) as
saying a crack pipe and prescription pills were found. It quoted a
spokesman for the medical examiner's office as saying an autopsy
Saturday was inconclusive and toxicology tests will take weeks.

Goldstein had been frank about his
problems, going back to growing up in Philadelphia with an abusive
father. “I was 300-something pounds,” he said at the TCA session.
“I think I was the only fat crackhead that existed … I'm just a
gluttonous person.”

He'd tried therapists, he said; then
came the suicide attempt. “I looked at myself in the mirror and I
just saw myself for what I was … I had a .22 from when I was a
paranoid cokehead, thinking that the FBI was raiding my one-bedroom
apartment because they were so concerned with me.”

Then the gun jammed. “I remember
sitting there thinking, 'I can't even kill myself.' I repeated 5th
grade; everything in my life, I'd just been a failure.”

That was the morning a recovering
addict stopped by and advised him. “I just listened for once, and I
went and I did everything he told me.”

Goldstein found the successful part of
his life. He became “the world-famous DJ who really elevated the
art form and brought it into the mainstream,” said Tony DiSanto, an
MTV programmer.

Being a DJ was important to him,
Goldstein said. “That's what saved me when I first got sober and I
had no idea what to do … I focused on DJ'ing and the more I focused
on that, the better I got.”

He had glamorous girlfriends – Nicole
Richie, Mandy Moore and (until, reportedly, a recent break-up) model
Hayley Wood – and friends. He did projects with Barker, the
Blink-182 drummer, before they survived the crash. “I don't know
what to say about it,” he said, “other than it's a miracle.”

Before then, there had already been
talk of the MTV show. Producer Paul Rosenberg said the idea came
after be was impressed by Goldstein's sobriety.

“He's very vigilant about it,” he
told the TCA reporters. “Then you start hearing the stories from
all the people who are friends with him and … how he helped this
person and how he helped that person.”

Goldstein said he was the logical
person to help, because he'd been at the bottom. “People would come
to me and say, 'Dude, how did you do it? You were, like, the worst of
us. You were the biggest mess.'

“I got arrested at nightclubs for
screaming on the mike at people. I was just a slobby drunk. And
people saw that and saw the change in me.”