SLIDESHOW: Famous deaths 2009
A friend had called police to say he was unable to get into the home in the trendy SoHo neighborhood. There was no evidence of foul play, and a medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
Last year, he was badly hurt in a South Carolina plane crash that killed four people and seriously injured rock musician Travis Barker.
DJ AM, whose real name was Adam Goldstein, had openly discussed past addictions to crack cocaine, Ecstasy and other drugs, addictions so bad he once tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head - but the gun jammed. However, he claimed he had been drug-free for years, even swearing off cigarettes.
His spokeswoman, Jenni Weinman, said the circumstances surrounding his death were unclear. She pleaded for privacy for his family.
In October, MTV was to debut his reality show, "Gone Too Far," in which he and concerned families staged interventions for drug abusers. In a recent AP interview, he talked about holding a crack pipe for the first time in years for the show and said he felt as though he had an angel on his shoulder for surviving so much turmoil.
"There's no better way to remember what it was like when I was at my bottom than to see someone at their bottom," he told the AP.
MTV did not have an immediate comment on whether Goldstein's show would air, but said in a statement that it "was honored to support him as he helped young people battle their own addictions."
Goldstein was a deejay for hire who performed at Hollywood's most exclusive parties and was admired by music aficionados. He also was famous for relationships with reality TV star Nicole Richie, the daughter of singer Lionel Richie, and with actress-singer Mandy Moore.
Goldstein was critically injured last September when a Learjet crashed on takeoff in Columbia, S.C. The plane was transporting Goldstein and Barker, a drummer for the pop punk band Blink-182, after a performance; the pair had formed the duo TRVSDJ-AM.
Barker and Goldstein were burned, though Barker was injured more severely. Goldstein had to get skin graft surgery, but about a month later he was performing again, joining Jay-Z on stage.
At the time, he told People magazine he was grateful to survive.
"I can't believe I made it," he said. "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."
Goldstein rose to fame several years ago as highly sought-after DJ whose beats kept the dance floor packed and clubgoers hypnotized. He was known for his deft mashups, a blend of at least two songs, and performed not only in clubs but on grand stages, appearing earlier this year at the Coachella music festival in Indio, Calif.
He was to be one of the playable characters in Activision's "DJ Hero," a rhythm video game from the makers of "Guitar Hero" that uses a turntable-shaped controller. The game is set for release Oct. 27.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of DJ AM," said Tim Riley, vice president of music affairs for Activision. "We hope that his work on the game will be a fitting tribute to his creative spirit and musical talent."
Representatives for Moore and Barker didn't immediately return telephone messages seeking comment on the DJ's death, but other celebrities and fans instantly shared their reactions on Twitter, where "RIP DJ AM" was the No. 1 topic Friday.
"I'm stunned. Rest in peace Adam," singer-songwriter Josh Groban posted.
"I'm sorry to loved ones," musician and video director Pete Wentz wrote. "So unexpected."
Singer John Mayer wrote: "We're supposed to lose our friends to time, at an age when we're ready to agree to the terms of having lived a long life. Not now."
Goldstein was on Twitter just three days ago. He said he had just wrapped filming of the MTV series in Connecticut and was on his way to Atlantic City, N.J., to DJ. He also posted a lyric from the hip-hop legends Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five: "New York, New York. Big city of dreams, but everything in New York ain't always what it seems."
Media and onlookers flocked to his apartment, creating a frenzied scene; flowers had been placed outside the entrance.
Fellow DJ Scott Schroer, known as Scotty Boy, said he went to the apartment after he heard the news to check for himself. He said he had known Goldstein for 10 years and had worked the turntables with him last week at the Palm in Las Vegas.
"He was the first to really be eclectic in the mashup scene," Schroer said. "He mixed rock and roll with hip-hop. He was a pioneer."
Schroer said Goldstein had been sober since he met him. When asked about the prescription pills, he said: "If you were just in a plane crash a year ago, I'm sure you would have prescription pills, too."
Associated Press writers Virginia Byrne in New York and Michael Cidoni in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Related Link from The Associated Press.
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