To explain slurred speech and a near fall in the months before his November death from organ failure, David Cassidy publicly claimed he was suffering from dementia. Privately, he admitted his true disease. "There is no sign of me having dementia at this stage of my life. It was complete alcohol poisoning," the former teen idol told a producer in a recorded phone call included in a two-hour A&E documentary airing Monday, per the Washington Post. "The fact is that I lied about my drinking," the Partridge Family star continued, per a clip from David Cassidy: The Last Session, noting a doctor directly related his temporary memory loss to alcoholism, a disease Cassidy long battled.
"I did it to myself, man," Cassidy added, his voice breaking. "I did this to myself to cover up the sadness and the emptiness." The admission, which came two months before Cassidy's death, surprised documentary producers, who believed Cassidy had been sober since a stint in rehab in 2014, according to People. Others were less surprised. "Part of alcoholism is lying," Cassidy's Partridge Family costar Danny Bonaduce tells People. "I can't be mad at David for that, but it's still a tragedy." Son Beau Cassidy told Reuters in a statement, "We, the Cassidy family, were not affiliated with the A&E documentary," which shows Cassidy's health deteriorating as he works on his final album, per Rolling Stone. "All we are interested in is maintaining the legacy of the icon he was." (Read more David Cassidy stories.)