Austin Eubanks, an injured survivor of the Columbine High School mass shooting and nationally known addiction recovery advocate, was found dead in his Steamboat Springs, Colorado, home on Saturday, the Routt County, Colorado, corner confirmed to local media.
Eubanks’ family said in a statement that he “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face,” adding that they plan to continue his work.
In a 2016 interview with KMGH-TV in Denver, Eubanks said he was prescribed pain medication after being shot in the hand and knee in the Columbine shooting, and he became addicted to the pills within three months after taking them to cope with emotional pain. After seeking help six years later, Eubanks became an advocate for others in recovery. He spoke on his experiences and the relationship between trauma and addiction at the 2016 National Conference on Addiction Disorders in Denver.
Eubanks’ work included serving as chief operations officer for Foundry Treatment Center, directing a multi-phase treatment program and leading both program management and business development, according to his website. He served on the boards of not-for-profits including Stout Street Foundation, a 180-bed therapeutic community primarily for an indigent population, as well as 5280 High School, a public charter school in Denver that focuses on prevention and addiction recovery in adolescents. His career also included stints as director of operations for NorthStar Transitions, a transitional treatment program for young adults in Boulder, Colorado, and as executive director for Quiet River Transitional Recovery Community, a luxury transitional treatment program in Denver.