MORRISON, Colo. — Brian "Rescue" Hein was three days away from returning to his home in Thailand when family in Morrison, Colorado found him passed away.
His father Bill Hein said Brian died in May after taking fentanyl.
Brian was a well-known DJ in southeast Asia. He was back in Colorado for the end of his North American tour for 2022.
"After having done his last performance for his tour in downtown Denver, a very successful night according to everyone who was there, he was in great spirits," Bill said. "This was a horrible tragic accident. He loved life. Loved what he was doing."
Family thought Brian had been clean and sober for 15 years. They were so proud of him because he was always surrounded by alcohol and drugs in the music industry.
After Brian died, friends told his family that he had been experimenting with drugs for the last three years. He relapsed, and he was struggling.
Bill Hein said Brian was trying to reduce the amount of anti-anxiety drugs he used, and the family isn't sure how long Brian experimented with opiates.
"He was trying to get better and he ran out of time," Bill said. "Some might say 'Well, my gosh, it’s hopeless. Here is a guy who was sober for 12 years and he relapsed. What is the point of even starting?' And I think people need to realize there are many, many successful human beings who were alcoholics and drug addicts and who have been clean and sober for decades."
The family said sobriety meant everything to Brian. Many friends have shared how Brian helped them overcome their own struggles and showed them how to achieve sobriety in the music industry.
"As horrific as this tragedy is, I need to find lemonade out of the lemon and one way to do that is to speak about Brian, the contributions he made to the world, the struggles he had, and how those struggles can be used by other people to motivate them to not let this happen to them or their loved ones," Bill said.
Brian was born at Lutheran Hospital in Lakewood. He went to CSU to get a degree in journalism and public relations. Brian learned about opportunities to teach in Thailand, and he decided to move there nine years ago. He taught English at Assumption University.
Brian made an impact on thousands of people across the world. The family has received countless notes and letters about how much Brian meant to them.
"Brian's correspondence with me made me decide life was worth living," one note said.
Another note read, "He was simply one of the good guys out there. Humble. Kind. Always good to be around."
Brian's family recognizes people don't want to talk about addiction. They hope this story encourages people to do just that.
"It's not something to be ashamed of, and in doing so, perhaps it helps people to be more willing to step forward themselves to say, 'I need help,'" Bill said. "They should reach out for help. They should talk to a loved one."
Brian's family believes the mission of Colorado group Sober AF Entertainment aligns with the way he lived his life. The organization is raising money in honor of Brian to create safe and sober spaces at music events and festivals.
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