If toxicology tests – still weeks away — do confirm that drugs led to his death at age 36, it would be a tragic end to his years of battling addiction.
At the time of his death, the star had just completed a reality series for MTV called "Gone Too Far" about helping addicts stop using. Whether it will air or not is currently unknown.
"The inspiration for the show is that I am a recovering drug addict, 11 years sober," he told MTV News.
But filming brought him back into contact with his old demons.
"One of the first shots that we did for the show, I was researching this girl Gina, where she buys – and I walked into the bodega right near her house and bought a crack pipe. That was my drug of choice," he said. "I walked out and I'm holding it and I just wanted to show how easy it was – and then I realized my palms were sweaty and I was like, wait a minute, this is not smart for me to be holding this. It's been tough."
Still, he added that the show was a reminder for him of how important sobriety was.
"There's no better way for me to see how low my bottom was than to see someone else at their bottom and to offer them a way out of it," he said.
The stakes, he added, were serious – even life or death.
"I have to remember, this person's going to die, and their family has been allowing this to happen, so this is my one chance," he said of his mission on the show. "I owe it as a human, who's sober, to say something to them. That's my job. That's what I'm there for…. Every single one that I've met, I see a part of me in them."
In the February 2008 issue of Glamour, DJ AM revealed the story of his struggles with addiction and weight in a painful, personal interview.
"When I was 20, I started freebasing cocaine," he told the mag. "For the next four years, that's about all I did [outside of deejaying]. I was hugely fat, because whenever I wasn't high I was gorging on food."
His life reached such a low point, he added, that he even attempted suicide at age 24, but the gun didn't go off.
Shortly after, a friend brought him home, a moment he called "the turning point."
But after 90 days clean, he relapsed again.
"Crawling back into meetings was difficult and painful, but at that point, I had no choice – it was recover or die," he said.
And meanwhile, though he'd given up drugs, his weight issues stacked up after a new girlfriend left him.
"I started to eat," he said. "And I ate and I ate and I ate."
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, the DJ experienced another break-up, this time with model Hayley Wood, which left him reportedly "completely devastated," in the weeks before he was found dead.
In the Glamour interview, DJ AM explained at the time that he finally turned to gastric bypass surgery and lost 100 pounds within a year.
Paired with daily good deeds, he said he finally learned how to like himself.
"I no longer needed a trophy girlfriend or drugs to feel good about myself," he said, but remembered how far he'd come. "Every day, I have to remind myself that… I'm still a drug addict. I have to hold onto the ground, gripping the grass with both hands."
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PLAY IT NOW: DJ AM On MTV Video Music Awards: It's A 'Big Movie Set Of Madness' (September 9, 2007)
PLAY IT NOW: 2008 MTV VMAs: Travis Barker and DJ AM