Only a few days before Christmas, beloved Howard Stern Show co-host Joey Boots was found dead in his apartment by close friend and show regular Erik Bealman. The radio personality called in to the podcast to explain the situation, resulting in an incredibly dramatic moment for the show. Months later, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City has determined that the 49-year-old passed away due to "acute heroin intoxication."
Boots had regularly opened up about his struggles with addiction to cocaine and crack when appearing on Stern's popular show. It was his candidness that made him such a memorable figure on the program. Another highly important moment for Boots was when he revealed to his close friends that he was gay on the show in 2007, which Stern later described as "heroic."
Bealman discovered Boots' body when he visited his apartment after not receiving any communication that morning. The two were planning on recording an episode of their own podcast, "The Joey Boots Show." When reliving the events on-air, Bealman said, "Me and the building manager opened Joey's door. And Joey was slumped over his chair." Bealman added, "He was ice cold." The hosts on Stern's show believed it to be a joke, admonishing Bealman and saying, "Shut the f**k up, dude."
Knowing that Boots, whose real name was Joey Bassolino, suffered from diabetes, initial assumptions were that he had passed away due to complications from the illness. None of his friends knew he was once again battling drug addiction and disputed any and all rumors that drugs were a factor in his passing. Adding to the assumptions of a diabetes-related incident were that police found no signs of trauma at the scene, with assumptions being the death was due to natural causes.
In an episode following Boots' death, Bealman shared some final thoughts on the tragedy. Bealman said, "When I came in this morning and I said, 'Damn, Joey's not here with me today.'" He added, "I'm going to miss you, from the bottom of my heart. I love you. You are always going to be with me forever and ever."
Stern shared words as well, confessing, "Joey had a hard life but he told us a lot of things brought him joy and one of them was our show." Stern continued, "I liked Joey very, very much and I'm going to miss him very much. He was a great friend to the show."
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[H/T Daily Mail]