Twenty years ago, Austin Eubanks found himself hiding under a table in the library of Columbine High School as he watched his friends lose their lives around him.
And despite being shot twice, he lived to tell his story.
But this past Saturday (May 18,) Eubanks’ story ended in the most tragic of ways when he was found dead in his home.
According to People magazine, Eubanks’ family told a local news outlet that he “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,” a statement from his family said. “As you can imagine, we are beyond shocked and saddened and request that our privacy is respected at this time.”
After the shooting, Eubanks struggled with an addiction with opioids.
“As a result of my injuries, I was pretty significantly medicated about 45 minutes after being shot,” he said in an interview with CNN. “I remember immediately being drawn to that feeling, because it took the emotion away.”
Eubanks would fight back against his addiction, and eventually, he began speaking around the country about substance abuse and addiction recovery. Most recently, he spoke at the 2019 Connecticut Opioid and Prescription Drug Prevention Conference earlier this month.
We send our condolences to all those who mourn Eubanks’ death.