A 25-year-old Ashland man died Tuesday of a suspected drug overdose, the third such death in Ashland in six weeks.
Maxwell "Max" Pinsky was found by emergency personnel in a home in the 4000 block of Clayton Road south of Ashland shortly after they received a 911 call at 4:55 p.m., according to Ashland Fire & Rescue.
They transported Pinsky to Ashland Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead and officials called the Jackson County Sheriff's Department to investigate, sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.
Carlson said the cause of death could not be confirmed until toxicology reports were completed, but "circumstantial evidence suggests that it was a drug overdose."
Carlson would not elaborate on the evidence or what drug was suspected in Pinsky's death. Toxicology reports can take six to eight weeks to complete, Carlson said.
Authorities weren't sure whether Pinsky was living at the address on Clayton Road, but Carlson said authorities believe he had been "couch surfing" recently.
Pinsky was the son of longtime Ashland musician and businessman David Pinsky, who founded the Ashland Blues Society.
"I loved him dearly," David Pinsky said Thursday. "He was a great kid.
"It was a really tough struggle for the last year."
He said the family is still in shock from the news and is grieving the loss. "We're fighting the battle," he said. "We have moments of sadness and being strong."
David Pinsky said Max was a friend of Jordan Roth, 34, who was found dead from a suspected heroin overdose on Dec. 4 in his Ashland home. Just 24 hours earlier, the body of another Ashland man, Colin McKean, was found by a family member in his home. A heroin overdose was also suspected in that death.
Court records show Max Pinsky had been arrested on two separate drug charges in the past five months. On Aug. 16, he was arrested by Ashland police on a charge of heroin possession, to which he pleaded not guilty in September. On Nov. 25, he was arrested by Medford police on a charge of methamphetamine possession. He pleaded not guilty to that charge on Jan. 10.
Friends remembered Pinsky as loving and funny and expressed sadness over his death in messages to the Mail Tribune.
"I knew Max pretty well and he was one of my first hires at Dragonfly when he was 17," said Neil Clooney, owner of Smithfield's restaurant in Ashland, who described Pinsky as confident, happy and with a talent for the culinary arts.
"Even after he left working for me, we would always check in with each other," Clooney said. "I hope out of this other troubled kids are inspired and have the courage to seek help. There is definitely a problem in this beautiful valley of kids being swept into darkness."
"Max was a very kind, gentle, funny and loving person," said Frank Dalziel, a friend and Ashland resident. "He would have done anything for anybody in need.
"He had a fantastic sense of humor and always made me smile when I saw him," said Dalziel. "He will be immensely missed in our Ashland community."
"He was what you call a gentleman, a great honest friend and just a great guy in general," said Brynna Dean, an Ashland musician and longtime friend of Pinsky's. "I wish I would've become close with him again, maybe I could have helped."
"I'll never forget Max," said Markos Photinos, an old friend of Pinsky's and a musician who said they bonded over their mutual love of music.
"I would like to live in a world where there are more people like him: compassionate, smart, funny, hard working and kind," said Photinos. "It breaks my heart. Travel well friend! See you on the next flight!"
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mandy Valencia at 541-776-4486 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.