DJ AM found dead in his NY city apartment

Adam Goldstein, best known as DJ AM, was found dead in his NY city apartment yesterday afternoon. He was just 36. AM was a survivor of a fatal small plane crash last September along with his friend and collaborator, Travis Barker. Four others perished in that crash, including two friends and co-workers of AM and Barker. AM suffered burns on his hands and head, for which he required skin graft surgery, but he recovered quickly and was working again a month after the accident.

AM was addicted to crack cocaine years ago, but recently said that he was sober for 11 years. People who knew him said he never drank alcohol. He even had a reality show coming out on MTV this fall in which he helped families of addicts stage interventions. AM explained in an MTV interview, video below, that the idea for the show was something he came up with. He said that he bought a crack pipe while being filmed to demonstrate how easy it was to get one, but that holding it brought up a lot of old cravings. In interviews with AM about the show on MTV’s website, he speaks with such feeling and passion about helping addicts that I have a hard time believing he went down that route again. The Associated Press reports that prescription drugs and a crack pipe were found in his apartment, but his representative emphasizes that the circumstances of his death are still unclear. I don’t think we should jump to any conclusions about what happened to him. No matter how he died it’s an incredible tragedy and a great loss.

Here is a People article about AM’s death and his struggle with addiction. Other reports say he was not seen for several days and a friend called the police when they couldn’t get into his apartment. AM’s last tweet is ominous in light of his death. He wrote on August 25 at 2:57 pm “New york, new york. Big city of dreams, but everything in new york aint always what it seems.” AM was also said to be distraught over a recent breakup.

DJ AM has been found dead in his New York City apartment.

Det. Brian Sessa tells PEOPLE that at 5:20 p.m. on Friday New York Police Department officers entered an apartment on Lafayette Street in response to a 911 call about a man who hadn’t been seen for two days. Inside, they found the body of a white male in his 30s. Another police source confirmed to PEOPLE that the dead man was DJ AM.

The cause of death has not been released by the medical examiner, although N.Y.P.D. Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said there was no apparent evidence of foul play. A police source said prescription drugs where found in the apartment.

Goldstein’s publicist released a statement Friday confirming the news of his death. “The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear. Out of respect for his family and loved ones, please respect their privacy at this time,” the statement says.

DJ AM (real name: Adam Michael Goldstein) was 36. He narrowly escaped death in a 2008 jet crash with Blink 182’s Travis Barker.

“There’s no reason why I lived and they didn’t,” DJ AM said last month at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, referring to the others who died in the crash. “It’s something that I struggle with every day, you know, kind of wondering. But I’ve just realized I’m never really going to know. I’m alive, and I’m here, and I have another chance. So I have to do something better with my life this time.”

DJ AM’s Last Days
On Thursday, Goldstein Tweeted, “New york, new york. Big city of dreams, but everything in new york ain’t always what it seems.”

DJ AM was scheduled to work Friday night at Rain nightclub at the Palms in Las Vegas, where he has a standing gig. He was the deejay at the club last weekend. “He never drinks alcohol – ever,” says a source who has seen him there. “Every time he’s there he drinks Fiji water and Red Bull – six Fijis and six Red Bulls every night.”

Goldstein had just played Dusk at Caesar’s Atlantic City on Tuesday night. He was part owner of the club, which will be closed Friday night. In a statement, Dusk management said, “We are devastated by the loss of Adam Goldstein, our dear friend and valued member of the Dusk family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones. He was a true talent who will be greatly missed.”

His Past Struggles
Goldstein was a popular deejay in the Hollywood, New York and Vegas club scene, and had struggled with weight, drugs and depression.

“Drugs became my identity,” he said in 2005. “I would deejay until 2 a.m., go get drugs and stay up until 10 in the morning doing drugs alone in my apartment.” During his early 20s, his weight reached 300 lbs.

A critical turning point in his life came in 1997, when Goldstein considered suicide. After a night of doing cocaine, Goldstein, 24 at the time, sat before a mirror and “could not move away from staring at myself,” he said. He put a gun in his mouth and, sobbing, said, “God, please help me.”

“I pulled the trigger, and it jammed,” DJ AM said, recounting the story again at the TCAs last month. “And I remember sitting there thinking, ‘You know, I can’t even kill myself.’ ” He said the next morning, a friend, who had managed to kick drugs, stopped to check in on him. “He said, ‘Dude, you’re coming with me. Let’s go.” And I just listened for once, and I went and I did everything he told me to do. That was 11 years ago.”

After vowing to get off drugs and lose weight, Goldstein underwent gastric bypass surgery and dropped 115 lbs.

He dated Nicole Richie and got engaged to the reality TV star in 2005, though the two called off their plans in December of that year. Goldstein most recently dated model Hayley Wood but according to reports called it quits earlier this month.

[From People]

The NY Post has a very touching story from a friend of AMs who said he rescued him from drug addiction four years ago and saved him at a time when he had no will to live. “He reached out to me, talked to me for hours. He’d be there every single time I would call. He would be there no matter [the] situation, he would answer calls at 5:30 in the morning. He just want[ed] to help people out.”

As trivial as it is, I remember DJ Samantha Ronson saying in an interview that AM once gave her an entire hard drive filled with music, something that was incredibly generous considering that they were technically in competition with each other.

People remember AM as a true friend who cared about others and was always willing to help. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. He will be sorely missed by so many.

AM on his new reality show in which he stages interventions for drug addicts:

AM shows his sneaker collection. He loved Nikes and Adidas and had over 600 pairs. I love how he says that shoes to him are what jewelry and purses are to women.

DJ AM at work at the Palms in Las Vegas

Photos are file photos of AM. The ones in the last three rows are the most recent. Credit: Fame Pictures and

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48 Responses to “DJ AM found dead in his NY city apartment”

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  1. Ophelia says:

    he seemed like a good person.
    What a sad year 2009 has been.

  2. Miss Wanderlust says:

    Wow, even more sad nowing he overcame so much struggles in his life and survived that horrific plane crash !!!
    I wish all his family & close friends my deepest condoleances and sympathy!
    R.I.P. Adam……

  3. Seven says:

    Sad stuff 🙁

  4. Rosanna says:

    Sad, very sad 🙁

  5. crazymary says:

    So sad. I can’t help but think it was his time. He had escaped death 2 times before. Addiction – if indeed drugs r what killed him – is stronger than most people believe. If feel for him and his loved ones. RIP.

  6. t-t says:

    this is horrible….i had his interview that he gave to “glamour” magazine i think and kept as an inspiration for me to do better. he was a really great person….im tearing up cuz he deserved so much better…RIP

  7. javelin says:

    Sensitivity to life is both a blessing and a curse… He shared his talent, overcame toxic impulses, and helped others do the same– A legacy to be proud of, even if addiction made one last claim on his life.

  8. HEB says:

    Very sad–and there’s a rumor that Nicole is in labor right now…wouldnt be suprised if its a boy they name it Adam.

  9. boo says:

    It is wretchedly sad that such a gifted, kind man died so young. I wish his family and friends the best while mourning this tragic loss.

  10. Mairead says:

    Sad, sad. I found the MTV interview very poignant and couldn’t listen to the end. If it turns out that drugs had a part to play in his death, I find it tragic that perhaps in trying to help others the experience weakened his resolve and whatever caused the relapse overwhelmed him.

  11. teehee says:

    Wow I wish I had the chance to know about him better earlier… this is a bad wy to get to know such an intelligent, insightful, and loving/giving person. I first heard about it on myspace, saying “pay tribute to DJ AM” and I was like WHAT? No way, what for!?
    And what a loss it is indeed…

  12. Kaiser says:

    Tragic. He seemed like such a nice, decent guy.

  13. YoMomma says:

    He seems like such a nice guy. I really would watch the Intervention shows because he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about because he’s been there. I suppose they will cancel the program now even though it could be his legacy. This disease is so cunning, baffling and powerful. Addicts are one are only one pill, snort, shot, drink from reactivating their disease. I wonder if he took pain meds after the plane crash. They could easily start a craving. It is always there, always lurking. Condolences to his family and thanks AM for bringing so much joy to others lives.

  14. Just a Poster says:

    This is just so sad. :(‘

  15. JustMe says:

    Go with angels Adam.

    You never had a chance to rest in life, may you now be serene and at peace.

  16. Canadian Fan says:

    Rest In Peace, DJ AM

    You were an inspirational human being.
    From one addict to another…thanks for all that you did to help fellow sufferers. Much love.

    I would be inclined to believe that he had been taking painkillers after the plane crash. The burns that he suffered, and the skin grafting cause such agony. Such a shame that the meds, meant to help may have sent him spiraling out of control.

  17. gossip_ho says:


  18. Nev says:

    Another sad tragic lost. This should be a wake up call to all the others in the business. Too many of them are still using drugs.

  19. BiggieShortie says:

    He seemed like a pretty together person, I hope that crack pipe didn’t have anything to do with his death. So needless. RIP.

  20. mhjmc says:

    R.I.P. DJ AM

  21. jennifer says:

    So very very sad 🙁

  22. JLM says:

    Shocking and sad…condolences to his family and friends….

  23. GatsbyGal says:

    It’s sad because he seemed like such a generous, good person. But he survives a horrific plane crash a year ago, and then what does he do with that gift of new life? He squanders it and kills himself with drugs. I just don’t understand.

  24. rarahrarah says:

    oh my word, i cannot believe it 🙁 we are losing people like these everyday. i do not know if he was strong in all aspects, but i hope he held on to what was stronger than him in the end. no one can make it through this life alone. to die with such brokenheartedness is very tragic. rest in peace, mr. dj.

  25. Aspie says:

    Very sad…R.I.P.

    Indeed, 2009 has just been a hell of a depressing year.

  26. scarlett says:

    im a dj and i have to say THIS IS A GREAT LOSS:(
    this guy was a wizard and shared every trick in the book…with the world! i used to watch youtube vids of his tricks and don’t even know what we will do without him.
    so sad.
    its impossible to know how much you mean to people, don’t ever underestimate yourselves folks

  27. Iggles says:

    Wow. Man, so many deaths this year and it’s only August!

    RIP DJ AM!

  28. Kikker says:

    So sad! I am very sorry that this happened

  29. Texas Gal says:

    But he survives a horrific plane crash a year ago, and then what does he do with that gift of new life? He squanders it and kills himself with drugs. I just don’t understand.

    Surviving an event like that cannot only be traumatizing but survivors are usually left with the feeling of guilt. They cant understand why they survived & the others didn’t. It’s more complicated than you may think. Also, I read somewhere that he was feeling depressed because he wasn’t on pain medication. I think he didn’t want to start up & get the feeling of addiction. R.I.P

  30. Tina says:

    darn it, RIP.

  31. elvisgreace says:

    He was always so low key and laid backs, especially when compared to all the other Hollywood celebutards. He always came across as a really decent,sweet guy, and these anecdotes confirm he really was a stand up guy. So, so sad.

  32. karen says:

    He survives a horrific plane crash but not drugs. How sad.

    RIP Adam

  33. Wif says:

    “and then what does he do with that gift of new life? He squanders it and kills himself with drugs. I just don’t understand.”

    There have been no results yet to say if drugs were in his system or not. Sometimes people die from unknown underlying conditions. Why not wait to find out for sure before saying something hurtful like that? Or maybe not say it at all.

  34. RubyKaur says:

    Lost lots of weight, survived a plane crash, then a blodd clot in his leg……and now he dies? Just not fair! RIP DJ AM!

  35. john sanford says:

    “and then what does he do with that gift of new life? He squanders it and kills himself with drugs. I just don’t understand.”

    There have been no results yet to say if drugs were in his system or not. Sometimes people die from unknown underlying conditions. Why not wait to find out for sure before saying something hurtful like that? Or maybe not say it at all. wif says

    noone defended mj and he was murdered

  36. eml says:

    mj wasn’t murdered. they are saying it was homicide, there is a huge difference between the two.

  37. Kita Kata says:

    I saw this young man as inspiration, since my young son (who is mentally disabled) endured, survived, triumped over a horrible burn injury around the same time. I fear that perhaps the pain meds prescribed for his horrific burn injury and the difficult physical therapy might have pushed him over the edge, and re-introduced him to the world of drugs he tried so valiantly to escape. Bless you and your family and friends …

  38. Sheigh says:

    Survivor of a crash plane, but when the death is coming around, nobody can really fight.
    Damn trash!
    Condolences to his family!

  39. viper says:

    Dropping like flies.

  40. Jilliane says:

    He was such a good guy and so talented. Why are all the great talents dying this year? He escaped death twice over now…one from drugs 11 years ago, and that horrible plane crash. Perhaps he was too emotionally scarred and feeling guilty about being one of the only survivors of that deadly crash. Then again, it could’ve been a complication due to that crash that was never discovered, and not drugs.

  41. viper says:

    You’re all a bunch of drama queens. He D.U.Ied end of story.

  42. jaundicemachine says:

    The man clearly struggled with self-loathing. I hope his demons didn’t end up getting the better of him.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  43. Dani says:

    I met DJ AM at Lolla back in 2007 about a month before the plane crash. He thanked me for dancing in front to his DJing all night, and I thanked him for playing the after party. He was very nice and genuine that night; all the reports of his kindness are most likely true. RIP Adam

  44. Munkey says:

    Terrible and utterly tragic. Many prayers to his loved ones.

    RIP, Adam.

  45. huriu says:

    He looks lost in this picture. I actually see death and sadness around him. He is like forcing himself to smile.

  46. Bellaluna says:

    is no one going to say how this is going to feel to Nicole? I know she has moved on and its been a long time since they were together, but they had a long relationship. Im sure she must be so crushed right now. My thoughts go out to all his friends and family..may he rest in peace.

  47. huriu says:

    Bellaluna-Have you even thought about why they ended their relationship. Drugs. Two people who are dependent on drugs have nowhere left to go but in a grave. She got out and cleaned herself up. He continued feeding his lifestyle which included late nights and partying. I’m not saying he deserved to die because he was an addict. He just never wanted to help himself.
    RIP Dj AM

  48. Look at this guy’s smile 🙂