2006, Hank Jones introducing:
“…Next is a young pianist…you’re going to hear a lot more from (him) in the coming years and his name is Mr. Austin Peralta…”
Austin was just 15 years old at the time. A star, becoming a legend in his own time…
Fast forward to 2012, Austin, a man who had a golden future ahead of him, so, so, so much work to get to the point of such acclaim: dead.
October 25, 1990 – November 21, 2012
“Peralta died on November 21, 2012, at the age of 22. The LA County Coroner’s Report indicated the most likely cause of death was viral pneumonia aggravated by a combination of alcohol and drugs.”
Don’t judge, please don’t judge! I don’t know Austin’s story but I do know that addiction is an illness, that it’s not a matter of morality, that it’s not a reflection of weak character, it’s an illness and only if we remember that will we start to see a dilution of the stigma, the stigma which reinforces the sense of shame, which acts as a road block between the sufferer and the help that he/she so desperately needs!