Below Deck Star Captain Lee Rosbach Says His Son’s Dog Refused To Leave His Side After Fatal Overdose

Captain Lee Robsach is turning personal tragedy into a movement for change.  The tragic death of the Below Deck captain’s son Joshua Lee Rosbach due to opioid overdose left Lee understandably heartbroken.  No parent should have to bury their child, and the emotions must be debilitating.

But rather than succumb to the tragedy, Captain Lee is taking initiative to enter the political arena and activate legislative changes.  According to People, he appeared before Congress at the end of October to advocate for stricter regulations on fentanyl and the selling of the substance.

During his speech before lawmakers, Captain Lee recalled the final conversation he had with Joshua before his tragic overdose in July 2019.  He revealed that his son battled opioid addiction for 20 years after getting hooked on the “pills” after they were prescribed to him for pain mitigation.

“He was in the hospital for a month, and came out with a love for the feeling he got from the opioids he was given in the hospital,” Captain Lee explained.  Sadly, the accident that left Joshua with two broken feet and a broken leg, also resulted in a 20 year opioid addiction.  For the next two decades, Joshua was in and out of rehab.

Captain Lee continued, “I’m not here because I’m a doctor, a statistician, or psychologist.  I’m simply a dad who’s lived through the horrors that come from the opioid crisis that’s devastating our nation  I didn’t agree to be here today to make anyone feel all warm and fuzzy.  When I’m done, it’s my hope you’ll have a very different view of this crisis that’s so tremendously misunderstood.”

Captain Lee’s speech also gave statistics on the astronomical number of deaths in the United States due to overdose.  Finally, he recalled the “typical Sundy” that he discovered Joshua had succumbed to his disease.


RELATED: Below Deck Star Captain Lee Rosbach Heads To Washington To Fight Opioid Crisis


“I began my day like I usually do, off to the gym as my wife, Mary Anne, went for her morning walk,” Captain Lee said, “later in the day, our son Josh was planning to come over and help me wash cars and hang out for a new hours, as he’d do more often than not.  Shortly after I returned from the gym, I received a text from Josh saying he was going to pass on today, but that he’d be over first thing on Monday when I got back from the gym to hang out and help with the cars.”

Captain Lee was still unconcerned since Josh had a tendency to cancel plans.  He continued, “this was not unusual for him, to sometimes change his mind last minute.  Hell, it was the weekend he was a 42-year-old guy with his own life outside spending every Sunday with his mom and me, so I didn’t mind.”

Josh hadn’t responded by Monday afternoon, and that was the when Captain Lee became concerned.  He said, “it was around 3 p.m., when I headed over to Josh’s house, which conveniently is only five blocks away.  When I pulled into Josh’s driveway, I noticed the drapes were drawn and as I walked to the front door, I knew in my heart of hearts I did not want to open that damn door  I felt I already knew what awaited me on the other side”

Captain Lee explained how Josh’s dog erratic behavior gave a clear indication that something was very wrong.  Tragically, the Below Deck favorite found his son on the couch.  The dog would not leave his side.


“I opened the door calling out for Josh, and saw that [his dog] Champ was off to the left of the door laying on the sofa curled up with his entire body pressed against my son Josh,” Captain Lee recalled, “Josh was sitting down on the sofa with his hat still on.  Josh always had a hat on.  Josh had his head between his hands with his elbows resting on his knees like he had dozed off.”

Captain Lee had a spark of hope that his son was only sleeping.  He said, “I felt a brief moment of relief, an incredibly short-lived moment of relief, because when I called out to Josh there was no reaction from him.  I knew something was drastically wrong at that point, so I rushed over to where he was sitting and put my hand on his shoulder to wake him up.  But there would be no more wake ups for my Josh.  no more wake ups for my beautiful brown eyed boy.  When I touched his shoulder, I felt no life.  What I felt was cold and hard.  My boy was gone.  The man sitting peacefully on the couch was not my tall, handsome son anymore.  Josh was gone.”

“I remember every second of that day, like a horrific, devastating movie scene playing over and over in my head,” Captain Lee continued, “except it’s no movie, it’s my reality.  The sight of my son on the sofa is the first image I see every day when I wake up, and it’s the last thing I picture every night before I fall asleep.  This is how I’ve spent every night and every day for the last two years.  Can you imagine that? Can you imagine finding someone you love more than your own life itself dead and col on their couch?”
Captain Lee continued to describe how unique and special Josh was.  He said, “I have crystal clear memory of that day. Josh was unique soul. There was no one who met him that didn’t like him. Handsome, charming, all of the things that a parent can say with pride and a smile when they talk about their child. I could go on for hours about what a great person he was. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact he had demons that eventually killed him. It’s not a very nice story, his journey with the drug that took his life.”
Captain Lee ended his speech with a plea to Congress to provide better access to rehabilitation centers.  “There is so much work to be one regarding the opioid crisis, and we need to act now,” he said, “it’s too late for Josh. It’s too late for my family, but it’s not too late for so many people out there who desperately need our help.”
Captain Lee and his family are helping in more tangible ways too, and always in a manner that honors their son.  They are opening a rehabilitation center on a barge, as well as creating a scholarship to provide free in-house treatment at the Awaken Recovery Center in Greenacres, Florida.  Captain Lee and his wife will choose a recipient who will benefit from the award, named after Joshua.  The barge is also named after Captain Lee’s late son.
[Photo Credit: Bravo]