Whether buying into Atlantic City nightclub or throwing the first pitch at a Phillies-Mets baseball game or spinning and mixing records for high-profile celebrity friends and fans, all Adam Goldstein - DJ AM - was trying to do after surviving a horrendous 2008 airplane crash was live his life and stay clean.
But Goldstein, a Philadelphia native who grew up in Rittenhouse Square, was found dead Friday evening at age 36 in his Manhattan apartment, where police found a crack pipe and prescription pills. He had been dealing with burn injuries received in the airplane crash and post-traumatic stress disorder he'd developed afterward.
Rock drummer Travis Barker, a friend of Goldstein's who also survived the crash that killed four others, had apparently recovered from the trauma. Barker has reunited with his band, Blink-182, which is selling out venues such as at a recent show at Camden's Susquehanna Center. Barker showed it could be done.
Mostly though, for those who knew his back story, DJ AM had been working hard to stay off the drugs that had marred his life nearly a decade before.
In Goldstein's case, it apparently couldn't be done.
He couldn't outrun the PTSD and his past battles with crack. He couldn't outrun the suicidal tendencies he discussed in magazines such as Glamour and The New York Times.
That's probably how he wound up dead in his apartment only days after throwing baseballs at the start of a Phillies-Mets game in Queens and spinning at the new Atlantic City club, Dusk, where he had become was a strategic partner.
You can't say DJ AM wasn't trying, however. He was selected to host an upcoming MTV network program about substance abuse intervention, "Gone Too Far." He also was staging interventions and was arranging treatment for drug addicts seeking help.
But show business was DJ AM's world - where he was the spinner du jour for private parties thrown by Jennifer Lopez, Leonardo di Caprio and the Ashton Kutcher/Demi Moore axis. But there was something touching about someone of his celebrity hosting a TV reality show that might actually help someone.
It appears that Goldstein just couldn't capture the real joy he'd brought to club habitués, dance floor doyennes and fellow musical artists since leaving Rittenhouse Square and schools such as Friends Central for Los Angeles at age 14. He just couldn't help himself.
Most knew DJ AM from his disc jockey-to-the-stars moniker or from finding him on the newsstand's gossip pages - what with his serial romancing of Nicole Richie (to whom he was engaged) and Mandy Moore. But there was more to DJ AM than being chased down by paparazzi.
If fans of Crazy Town's unsteadying rap-rock-electronic hit, "Butterfly," check the credits, they'll find that it was DJ AM manning the turntables and doing the scratching. Look and listen further and you find that his name in the metal-hip-hop mash-up stakes extend to artists like Papa Roach, Madonna and Will Smith.
The boy could spin. That's how he won his reputation, one he lent to the flashy Pure nightclub in Las Vegas before he bought part of Dusk in 2009.
If he wasn't a commercially and esthetically viable name worthy of admiration and paying customers, would fellow investors have dropped millions looking to cash in? Don't bet on it.
If he wasn't great, do you think Jay Z - arguably the greatest rapper ever - would've let DJ AM spin beside him during October 2008's reopening of the Hollywood Palladium, barely a month after DJ AM's plane crash? H-to-the-Iz-NO.