Nashville Mayor’s Son Dies of Apparent Overdose

By Kelly Burch 08/02/17

A memorial for Mayor Barry's only son was held on Tuesday night. 

Image: 
Mayor Megan Barry and her son Max
Mayor Megan Barry and her son Max Photo via YouTube

The 22-year-old son of the mayor of Nashville died of an apparent overdose last week. 

"Early this morning, we received news that no parents should ever have to hear. Our son Max suffered from an overdose and passed away,” Mayor Megan Barry and her husband Bruce Brady said in a statement. “We cannot begin to describe the pain and heartbreak that comes with losing our only child. Our son was a kind soul full of life and love for his family and friends.”

Max Barry died on Saturday evening near Denver where he was visiting friends, CNN reported. The mayor and her husband knew that their son had an ongoing issue with drug dependence, according to an official with the coroner's office in Colorado.

According to Mark Techmeyer, spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, around 8 p.m. on Saturday night, Barry's friends detected that he was unresponsive.

Max's death is not being labeled suspicious and isn't under criminal investigation.

Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Dan Pruett said that it will be a few weeks before his office will have the official toxicology results. 

Max's death comes just a couple months after his college graduation from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. 

His former school advisor, Dean Masullo, spoke about Max's impact. "Everything Max did was outsized. He was an enormous personality. You knew when he walked into a room that he was there. He was funny," said Masullo. "He had a great sense of humor that he clearly got from his dad. He was smart, he was personable, he was empathetic, he cared deeply about his friends and his family and he loved his school and all of the people in his life.”

The family asked for privacy as they deal with their loss. 

"Our family would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and would respectfully ask for privacy as we mourn the loss of our child and begin to understand a world without his laughter and love in our lives," they said in a statement. 

"The loss for a parent for a friend for a city is unspeakable," former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell told News Channel 5. "Nashville was there, Nashville was all around this family.”

On Tuesday night, over 550 of the Barrys' friends and family gathered to mourn at a memorial for Max, according to the Tennessean. Max's father Bruce took the stage at the Belcourt Theatre to speak about the loss of his only son, donning a backwards baseball cap, which is the same way Max used to wear them.

"We’ve been quite open, you may have noticed, about the circumstances that bring us here," he said, acknowledging his son's overdose. "We think it’s important that people understand the mistake he made. We've all made incredible mistakes in our lives, but we always walk away from them. He made one you don’t walk away from.

"The point I really want to make here is that the circumstances last Saturday in Denver tell the story of his death, and not the story of his life. The person he really was was not the person who was there on Saturday."

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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