CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — A survivor of the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre was found dead inside his Steamboat Springs, CO home on Saturday.
Austin Eubanks, 37, had spoken publicly about his battles with drug addiction following the Columbine shooting. Eubanks was shot at Columbine and watched his best friend, Corey DePooter, die next to him from that shooting.
He told FOX 46, back in 2017, that he was prescribed pain medications immediately afterwards and quickly became addicted.
“Before that I had never used any sort of substances,” Eubanks told FOX 46 back in 2017. “I had never drank a beer, I had never smoked marijuana and within 30 minutes I was numb.”
Eubanks said he struggled with addiction for 10 years before getting clean but a family spokesperson told FOX 31, he “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face.”
“He was driven by it (helping others),” friend and colleague Ward Blanchard said. “You can see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice.”
Blanchard runs The Blanchard Institute, a substance abuse program in Charlotte.
Eubanks worked with Blanchard to break addiction stigmas and attempted to use his story to help others across the world.
Blanchard said, if Eubanks were here to speak, he would want his story, the good and bad, to be heard in an attempt to help others.
“Asking people to take one step on shining light on that darkness,” Blanchard said. “You know, Austin spent years, running a journey, shining a whole bunch of light on that darkness and the world is better off for it.”
The Routt County Coroner said there were no signs of foul play. An autopsy was planned for Monday to determine an official cause of death.