DJ AM Found Dead in New York City

08/28/2009 at 08:55 PM EDT

DJ AM Found Dead in New York City
Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein
Kwaku Alston
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 were 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 had a near brush with 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.

Reporting by MARY GREEN, MARK DAGOSTINO, CARLOS GREER, LISA INGRASSIA, ELIZABETH F. MCNEIL and MARK GRAY

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