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Columbine Survivor Found Dead At 37, Lost 'The Battle With The Very Disease He Fought So Hard To Help Others Face'
Austin Eubanks, who was shot while hiding under a table in the library during the Columbine shooting, went on to speak publicly about his own addiction after surviving the horror.
A Columbine survivor, who was just 17 years old when two gunman entered the high school’s library, shot him twice and killed 10 other people inside, was found dead in his home Saturday at age 37.
There were no signs of foul play at his Steamboat Springs home, the Associated Press reports.
Austin Eubanks survived the horrific Columbine massacre but soon became addicted to prescription pain medicine in the aftermath of the deadly attack. He worked to help others overcome their addictions, according to Colorado station KOAA-TV.
In a statement released after his death, his family said Eubanks "lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face. Helping to build a community of support is what meant the most to Austin, and we plan to continue his work."
An autopsy will be conducted Monday to help determine Eubanks' official cause of death. He was discovered dead in his home early Saturday during a welfare check after he didn’t answer his phone, CNN reports.
Eubanks previously told CNN he had been in the library talking with friends—including his best friend—when the chaos broke out.
"A teacher ran through the same doors that we just entered into the library, yelling at everybody to get under the tables, that somebody had a gun, and I remember just being in shock," he said last year.
Eubanks and his friends were hiding under a table in the library when the two gunman methodically shot under each table, killing his best friend and shooting him in the hand and the knee.
“As a result of the injuries, I was pretty significantly medicated about 45 minutes after being shot,” he said. “I remember immediately being drawn to that feeling, because it took the emotion away.”
Within months, Eubanks said he had become addicted and didn’t find “lasting sobriety” until he turned 29 years old, according to KOAA-TV.
Eubanks spent the later part of his life speaking out about his trauma and addiction in the hopes that it would help others in need.
“I think that it's really important that — not as survivors of trauma but survivors of addiction — speak out and they share their story,” Eubanks said, according to KOAA-TV. “Just because you never know when your story is going to change the life of somebody else.”
His family said they were “beyond shocked and saddened” to learn of his death and requested privacy as they grieve.