Celebrity disc jockey DJ AM, whose real name was Adam Michael Goldstein, was found dead in his New York City apartment Friday afternoon. He was 36 years old.
Goldstein–who frequently performed in nightclubs and at exclusive Hollywood parties, as well as on albums by artists including Madonna and Will Smith, and who gained a measure of tabloid fame for past high-profile relationships with Nicole Richie and Mandy Moore–was scheduled to perform Friday night at the Rain club in Las Vegas. The cause of death has not yet been released. New York Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told reporters there was no apparent evidence of foul play, although police sources say drug paraphernalia and prescription drugs were found in Goldstein’s apartment, according to the Associated Press. Goldstein had admitted to drug abuse in the past but had said he was clean and sober in recent years and was due to host an MTV show this fall called Gone Too Far in which he and concerned friends and families would stage tough-love interventions with drug and alcohol abusers. Goldstein’s publicist, Jenni Weinman, released a statement confirming 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.” MTV also released this statement late Friday: “Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein’s death is an incredible loss to the music community, his friends, family, and his fans, and to those of us who had the privilege of working with him. MTV was honored to support him as he helped young people battle their own addictions. Our heartfelt thoughts go out to his family.”
Goldstein was nearly killed last September in a Learjet crash in South Carolina with frequent collaborator and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. The accident claimed the lives of two crew members and two other passengers, though Goldstein and Barker survived. Goldstein suffered burns on his hands and head and underwent skin graft surgery, but both he and Barker recovered and performed together at a New Year’s party at the end of 2008. ”I can’t believe I made it,” Goldstein told People after the accident. ”I’ve prayed every night for the past 10 years. There’s a lot more to thank God for now. … I was saved for a reason. Maybe I’m going to help someone else. I don’t question it. All I know is I’m thankful to be here.”
According a source quoted by People.com, model Hayley Wood had recently broken up with Goldstein and he had not taken the split well. But he continued working, and as recently as Tuesday, Aug. 25, was in the DJ booth at the Atlantic City club Dusk, of which he was part owner. That afternoon, Goldstein also posted his final tweet on his Twitter page, quoting a Grandmaster Flash lyric: “New york, new york. Big city of dreams, but everything in new york aint always what it seems.”
Update: Barker’s ex-wife, Shanna Moakler, released this statement: “My deepest condolences are to DJ AM; he was a great artist and will be severely missed. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. My support and love goes out to Travis as I know how hard this is for him and how close they were.”
Update: Mandy Moore, who dated Goldstein in early 2007, released this statement on Saturday: “I am absolutely heartbroken. For those of us lucky enough to have known him, Adam radiated a contagious exuberance for life and also personified the very definition of a true friend. To say that he will be missed beyond words is an understatement. My heart goes out to his loved ones.”