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David Crosby’s history of drug abuse could have contributed to Melissa Etheridge’s son’s overdose

Melissa Etheridge’s choice of David Crosby to be the biological father of her son could have been a contributing factor in the 21-year-old’s shocking death, a top addiction specialist claims.

‘Research tells us that 40–60% of the risk for developing addiction is driven by genetics,’ Emily Feinstein, the chief operating officer of the Manhattan-based Center on Addiction told DailyMail.com

Beckett Cypheridge, 21, was found dead in a stylish apartment in downtown Denver on Wednesday afternoon. In a tweet, Etheridge put his death down to his opioid addiction, although the city’s medical officer said ‘the cause and manner of death is pending investigation.’

Crosby, who found fame first with The Byrds and then with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, had a long history of drug abuse and spent nine months in a Texas prison in the 1980s for heroin and cocaine possession. He was later arrested for drunk driving after a hit and run accident.

Beckett Cypher died on Wednesday after an addiction to opioids. He was just 21

Rocker David Crosby’s biological son Beckett Cypher died on Wednesday after an addiction to opioids. Melissa Etheridge and then-partner Julie Cypher chose Crosby to be their son’s biological father when they set out on having a family in the 1990s

Crosby's donated sperm was used both for Beckett and his older sister Bailey, now 23 and Cypher was the biological mother of both. Bailey and Beckett are pictured with their mother Melissa when she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles in September 2011

Crosby’s donated sperm was used both for Beckett and his older sister Bailey, now 23 and Cypher was the biological mother of both. Bailey and Beckett are pictured with their mother Melissa when she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles in September 2011 

In 1994 he had to have a liver transplant due to contracting hepatitis C, which is often brought on brought on by sharing needles.

Etheridge and then-partner Julie Cypher chose Crosby to be the biological father when they set out on having a family in the 1990s. His donated sperm was used both for Beckett and his older sister Bailey, now 23.

Cypher was the biological mother of both.

'Research tells us that 40–60% of the risk for developing addiction is driven by genetics,' Emily Feinstein, the chief operating officer of the Manhattan-based Center on Addiction told DailyMail.com

‘Research tells us that 40–60% of the risk for developing addiction is driven by genetics,’ Emily Feinstein, the chief operating officer of the Manhattan-based Center on Addiction told DailyMail.com

Melissa had considered asking good friend Brad Pitt to be the father but felt that he wanted children of his own so badly that he could never accept that the children were hers and Julie’s. At the time, Pitt was dating Gwyneth Paltrow.

When Etheridge and Cypher visited Crosby and his wife Jan in Hawaii during a vacation the subject of children came up and the question of who they should choose as a father. 

Jan said: ‘What about David?’

For a year the couple thought about the idea, even worrying whether Crosby’s drug past might be a problem. 

Eventually they decided there was no danger that his sperm could be affected by his past drug use.

But it could have influenced Beckett’s drug addiction, said Feinstein from the Center on Addiction. 

‘When an individual with a substance use disorder has a history of addiction in their family, it is likely that genetics were a contributing factor,’ she told DailyMail.com.

Crosby, now 78, was the best choice, Etheridge and Cypher told Rolling Stone in 2000. 

‘For one, he’s musical, which means a lot to me and I admire his work,’ Etheridge said. ‘And he has his own life, has his own family.

‘It’s not a parental thing for David,’ she added. ‘David and Jan totally understood that we are the parents.’ 

Crosby, now 78, was the best choice, Etheridge and Cypher told Rolling Stone in 2000. The entire family, including Crosby and his wife Jan, appeared on the cover

Crosby, now 78, was the best choice, Etheridge and Cypher told Rolling Stone in 2000. The entire family, including Crosby and his wife Jan, appeared on the cover 

For a year Etheridge and Cypher thought about the idea of having Crosby as a donor, even worrying whether his drug past might be a problem. Eventually they decided there was no danger that his sperm could be affected by his past drug use

For a year Etheridge and Cypher thought about the idea of having Crosby as a donor, even worrying whether his drug past might be a problem. Eventually they decided there was no danger that his sperm could be affected by his past drug use

Etheridge, 56, announced her son’s death on Twitter on Wednesday evening. ‘Today I joined the hundreds of thousands of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction,’ she tweeted.

‘My son Beckett, who was just 21, struggled to overcome his addiction and finally succumbed to it today. He will be missed by those who loved him, his family and friends.

‘My heart is broken,’ Etheridge added. ‘I am grateful for those who have reached out with condolences and I feel their love and sincere grief.

‘We struggle with what else we could have done to save him, and in the end we know he is out of the pain now.’

Later his sister Bailey shared photos of herself with Beckett on Instagram. ‘I don’t know what to say,’ she wrote. ‘Today we lost my brother.

‘Too heartbroken and overwhelmed to be eloquent but appreciate all those who have reached out.

‘I love you Beckett. Fly high and watch over us.’

Etheridge, 58, said in a statement that Beckett had succumbed to opioid addiction and that her heart is broken

Etheridge, 58, said in a statement that Beckett had succumbed to opioid addiction and that her heart is broken

Melissa Etheridge's oldest daughter Bailey Cypheridge paid tribute to her brother Beckett (above together) after his tragic death at 21 following a battle with opioid addiction

Melissa Etheridge’s oldest daughter Bailey Cypheridge paid tribute to her brother Beckett (above together) after his tragic death at 21 following a battle with opioid addiction

Beckett had always lived in the shadow of his older sister. 

While she studied at elite Thacher School and Ivy League Columbia University, he went to an academy for struggling children and the Colorado Mountain College in Aspen.

She went on to become an analyst at Goldman Sachs. He worked at the Westin Snowmass Resort, near Aspen, Colorado. The resort is currently closed and it is not known if he had a job to go back to.

Bailey and Beckett both used the surname Cypheridge, a mash-up of their two mothers’ names. It wasn’t until Beckett was 15 months old that Etheridge went public with the identity of their biological father.

‘We just got so tired of this secret,’ Etheridge said at the time. ‘It wears you out.

‘And keeping this big secret goes against how we are choosing to live our lives: very openly.’

Etheridge and Cypher split in 2000, but Julie bought a house right next door to make co-parenting easier. Melissa went on to have twins with Tammy Lynn Michaels, who she married in 2005 and divorced in 2010. She then married current partner Linda Wallem in 2014.

Etheridge later admitted smoking marijuana with both Bailey and Beckett. She had tried weed occasionally but then found it helpful for her breast cancer that was diagnosed in 2004.

‘It was a wake-up call for me,’ she said. ‘When I used it as medicine, it became so clear to me that it has been maligned and misunderstood, and I really wanted to help people who are suffering. I mean, going through chemotherapy is suffering… and cannabis helps so many parts of just that. That’s just the beginning of what it does medicinally.

It was Crosby who suggested using marijuana to her.

‘You know, Melissa, you have to do medicinal marijuana,’ he told her. ‘You have to [try] cannabis. That’s the way to do it. It’s too hard otherwise.’

Crosby has a history of drug abuse and spent nine months in a Texas prison for heroin and cocaine possession in the 1980s

Crosby has a history of drug abuse and spent nine months in a Texas prison for heroin and cocaine possession in the 1980s

David denied that he played 'no part' in Beckett's upbringing after a rude comment from one Twitter user

David denied that he played ‘no part’ in Beckett’s upbringing after a rude comment from one Twitter user

Feinstein said she doubted if that would have contributed to Beckett’s addiction problem.

‘Addiction is frequently caused by a combination of social, environmental and genetic factors. While it’s not advisable for a parent to engage in substance use, like smoking pot, with his or her child, this alone, is unlikely to cause addiction.

‘Although a parent can’t control their child’s genetics, parents do have an immense amount of influence over their children.

Crosby himself spoke out about Beckett’s death in terse Twitter responses to fan.

‘I respectfully point out, David was their donor,’ someone identified as Téa wrote. ‘They did not have a son ‘with’ him. He was Melissa and Julie’s child. They raised him. Like most donors, he played no other part.’

Crosby replied: ‘Not true’.

When another Twitter user told him ‘I will be 40 next month. As long as I can remember anything at all you have been one of my favorite voices. While I know that you were a surrogate, I also know that you just lost a son. I’m sorry, I know you’ve had a rough year,’ David responded: ‘Maybe it’s a test’.

And later when a woman asked if he thought anyone from CS&N would reach out to him, he replied: ‘I doubt it…but you never know.’ The band — which consisted of Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash along with Neil Young who joined them intermittently — broke up several times often acrimoniously. In 2017 when asked about a potential reunion, Nash said he was up for it ‘even though I’m not talking to David and neither is Neil.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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