An emotional statement released by the mayor and her husband, Bruce Barry, said their son died in Denver on Saturday night.
“Early this morning, we received news that no parents should ever have to hear. Our son Max suffered from an overdose and passed away. We cannot begin to describe the pain and heartbreak that comes with losing our only child. Our son was a kind soul full of life and love for his family and friends,” the statement said. “Our family would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and would respectfully ask for privacy as we mourn the loss of our child and begin to understand a world without his laughter and love in our lives.”
Max Barry graduated in June from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. It is unclear what exactly he overdosed on.
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Funeral arrangements were pending as of Sunday and will be announced once plans are made, the mayor’s office said.
With her husband and son by her side, Megan Barry was sworn in as Nashville’s first female mayor in September 2015.
Denver Police Department spokeswoman Raquel Lopez declined to search the department’s records and logs for the police report of Barry’s death when asked by The Associated Press, saying that would violate the department’s policy of not identifying victims.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half a million people in the United States died from drug overdoses from 2000 to 2015. The majority of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid, a type of drug often used to relieve pain.
The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic, with 91 Americans dying each day from an opioid overdose. Opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, killed over 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.