A few weeks before his death in November, David Cassidy confessed that the sudden decline in his health was brought on by alcohol abuse — not dementia, as he previously claimed.
The revelation comes courtesy of A&E Networks, which is airing a two-hour documentary next week originally intended to chronicle the onetime teen idol as he recorded a tribute record to his late father, Jack Cassidy. Instead, David Cassidy fell gravely ill and struggled with what he first said was the onset of dementia.
The truth was just as bad. After becoming ill and being hospitalized during production, Cassidy was told that he had liver disease, which would ultimately become multiple organ failure.
“The head doctor at the hospital, she said, ‘I believe that your dementia was directly related to your alcoholism,’” Cassidy told A&E producer Saralena Weinfield in a taped phone call from a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hospital.
“I did it to myself, man. I did it to myself, to cover up the sadness and the emptiness,” he said.
Cassidy explained that after a few days where he was unconscious and near death, his memory came back.
“That’s such a blessing,” he told the producer, beginning to laugh as if he were telling a wry joke. “That means I’m cognizant of my surroundings, that I’m alive and it’s daytime and I know what day of the week it is. There is no sign of me having dementia at this stage of my life. It was complete alcohol poisoning. And the fact is, I lied about my drinking.”
After he was arrested for DUI in 2014 — his wife filed for divorce the next week — Cassidy was sentenced to rehab and put on probation. In early February 2017, he told People that he was suffering from dementia and would stop touring to focus on his private life.
The former star of “The Partridge Family” died soon after at age 67 from organ failure, including his liver and kidneys.