EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Ruehleman died of ‘accidental drug overdose’ at friend’s Manhattan apartment: Model’s father reveals his son had battled painkiller addiction for years and had been to rehab in the past
- Speaking to DailyMail.com from his Waldwick, New Jersey home Tuesday, Achim Ruehlemann revealed his son Jeremy likely died of an accidental drug overdose
- The 27-year-old model had struggled with addiction to the painkiller Percocet and other prescription drugs, and had gone to rehab in the past, his dad said
- According to police, Jeremy was discovered ‘unconscious’ in the bathroom of his friend’s midtown Manhattan apartment Saturday morning
Model Jeremy Ruehlemann died from an accidental drug overdose on Saturday after a years-long addiction to prescription pills, DailyMail.com has learned.
The 27-year-old’s father Achim Ruehlemann has confirmed his cause of death in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, a day after his son’s passing was announced on social media.
Speaking from his home in Waldwick, New Jersey, on Tuesday, the bereaved dad revealed Jeremy had struggled with addiction to the painkiller Percocet and other prescription drugs, and had gone to rehab in the past.
‘He did rehab and had tried to get off prescription medication,’ the father said, his face pale and eyes sunken from a lack of sleep since his son’s death.
‘Obviously, he was not successful.’
Model Jeremy Ruehlemann is believed to have died of an accidental drug overdose, his grieving dad told DailyMail.com Tuesday
The 27-year-old model had struggled with addiction to the painkiller Percocet and other prescription drugs, and had gone to rehab in the past, his father Achim (right) said
Ruehlemann, 59, however, did note that they are not ‘100 per cent sure exactly what happened’ as they are still awaiting the results of the toxicology, but described the death as a tragic accident.
‘There was no desire to end his life, this was accidental,’ he said. ‘Obviously, he had some issues with drug addiction, but he was very happy. He loved life. He was very vibrant, a wonderful soul and a very giving guy.
‘You could see what people are saying about him on social media,’ the grieving father continued, highlighting one Instagram post from fashion designer Christian Siriano who considered Jeremy to be his muse.
‘Siriano gave a very nice tribute,’ said the father, who works in manufacturing cosmetics.
‘I don’t know if there’s anybody who could say anything negative about him. It’s just a tragedy.’
The elder Ruehlemann described his son’s death as a tragic accident, saying his son was ‘happy’ and had ‘no desire to end his life.’ He is pictured above with his brother Sean and their mother
The fashion model (pictured with his mom and sibling as a young child) had been living with his mother for the past year in upstate New York and working as a bartender at a restaurant in Woodstock
He shared the heartwarming childhood photo on Mother’s Day last year
In a statement to DailyMail.com, the NYPD confirmed the younger Ruehlemann was discovered at his friend’s midtown Manhattan apartment after police received a 911 call at 9:50am on Saturday about an ‘unconscious male’.
Officers arrived to find the 27-year-old ‘unconscious and unresponsive’ in the bathroom and he was pronounced him dead at the scene. The Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the cause of death.
The friend, a young man, wiped tears from his eyes when approached by DailyMail.com.
‘He was one of my best friends,’ he said. ‘Despite everything that happened, he was happy.’
A funeral service for Ruehlemann will be held Saturday at Burnett & White Funeral Home in upstate Red Hook, New York, followed by a wake on Friday, his family said.
The fashion model had been living with his mother for the past year in upstate New York and working as a bartender at a restaurant in Woodstock.
He’d often travel into the city for modeling jobs, staying with a brother or friend.
His final Instagram post last week was a behind-the-scenes picture from a photo shoot with the Tommy Hilfiger brand, captioned, ‘BTS with Tommy.’
Jeremy had studied psychology at Rowan University, in his native New Jersey, but left before graduating in 2017 for a career in modeling.
The rising star’s father described his son as an avid reader who loved hiking and the outdoors.
One of his son’s greatest passions, he noted, was working as a counselor at Camp Omega, a sleepaway camp in upstate New York where Jeremy enjoying helping campers experiencing emotional difficulties.
The teen camp, now called Odyssey, has since relocated to the Berkshires in Massachusetts.
Jason Kanner with Soul Artist Management confirmed the model’s death on social media on Monday
Fashion designer Christian Siriano, who considered Ruehlemann to be his muse, shared a touching post on Instagram on Sunday
‘He was there at 17 as a camper, then he came back each year as a counselor up until two years ago,’ the elder Ruehlemann told DailyMail.com.
‘He loved being there helping kids. He was very well liked, very respected, and he made a difference in a lot of young lives. There were a lot of kids who came to the camp with issues about their sexual orientation.
‘He helped them open up and understand their situation, whether it was sexual orientation, whatever it was. He brought a little lightheartedness to help campers see their situation is not unique.’
Ruehlemann has been dating a woman recently but was not in a committed relationship, according to his father.
Jason Kanner with Soul Artist Management confirmed his death on his social media accounts on Monday.
‘It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I let you all know that Jeremy Ruehlemann has passed away,’ he wrote alongside several professional shots of the model.
‘Jeremy was authentically himself. Salt of the earth. There was just something about him that made you root for him,’ Kanner continued.
The post was a series of photos of Ruehlemann’s modeling moments as well as some of Siriano and Ruehlemann together.
His last Instagram post was a behind-the-scenes shot from what appeared to be a photo shoot with the Tommy Hilfiger brand. He previously worked as a camp counselor and studied psychology in school before leaving in 2017 for a career in modeling
He has since walked in of Siriano’s shows, and has modeled for brands Superdry (pictured), John Varvatos, Joseph Abboud, Superdry, Macy’s, Zara, Nick Graham and Atelier Cillian
Ruehlemann, who appeared in GQ and Playhaus Magazine, was represented by Soul Artist Management. Pictured: Ruehlemann walks in the Nick Graham S/S 2019 Collection during NYFW Men’s July 2018 at Cadillac House in 2018
‘I have never posted anything like this but to lose a friend who was such a beautiful soul is just really hard,’ Siriano captioned the post. ‘This is for Jeremy, the most beautiful man that gave so much love to everyone he met no matter what.’
He wrote that Ruehlemann ‘was one of my muses and he always will be. He inspired me and I will love him forever.’
Siriano’s continued: ‘I’m sending all my love to his family and friends who lost someone so special. I know we will meet again one day but right now I just want to hug him. Rest well J we all love you so much! Send love to his family today please.’
Ruehlemann was represented by Soul Artist Management, as well as Next Models’ London and Miami branches, Core Hamburg, IMM Brussels and The Mgmt in Sydney, according to Footwear News.
Tributes to the model poured out on social media since the news of his death.
Celebrity makeup artist Hung Vanngo mourned Ruehlemann’s death on Instagram, writing that he was heartbroken by the news.
‘He made such a large impact on everyone he met,’ he wrote.
‘In this industry you meet a lot of people, but he was one of those people that even if you met him once he would have a part of your heart forever. My Team and I love and cherish the time we had working with him. A true friend, you will be loved and remembered forever. RIP Jeremy.’
Halston Creative Director Ken Downing wrote: ‘Goodbye Sweet Jeremy. R. I. P. Jeremy Ruehlemann. Love to your family who you adored, as much as they love and adored you. I am heartbroken.’