The death of Ted Koppel’s death after a booze-fueled binge is a tragedy. The media icon released a statement this morning, stating: “Our son, Andrew, was a brilliant, caring man, whose loss we will mourn for the rest of our lives.”
Andrew was found in a stranger’s apartment in Washington Heights after nearly 12 hours of drinking whiskey with a man he had just met in a Hell’s Kitchen bar. “What’s really puzzling the family is why he ended up where he did,” a family friend told the NY Post. There’s plenty of speculation and no real answers just yet. He seemed to be living a full happy life, had one child and another on the way, and a good job. But just who was Andrew Koppel?
In his teens and early 20′s, Andrew had a love of the bottle. While many kids take part in raiding the liquor cabinet and kicking back a few beers in someone’s basement when their parents aren’t home, Andrew was arrested several times, twice before the age of 21 for DWI. He also sucker punched a senate aid while completely blotto. His problems were intensified by the fact that his father is a public figure, which led to a number of non-flattering headlines.
But after his early adolescence, he seemed to have grown out of this behavior. He graduated from Georgetown University’s Law School, a feat that would be near impossible if he was a drunk. “As far as I was concerned, he was a young man who had a drinking problem and was well on his way to recovery,” said Barry Helfand, a Washington lawyer who represented Koppel in his troubled youth.
Up until 2008, Andrew worked at the city Housing Authority, before quitting the $77,669-a-year post to teach at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He and his partner, photographer Ilona Lieberman, had a daughter, Alice, now 2 years old. Ilona is currently pregnant with their second child.
Several of Andrew’s neighbors have the best to say about him, claiming they never saw him drinking or drunk. One tells the New York Daily News, “It’s shocking. … He was a sweet guy and a great dad.”
Another source paints a different story. One man who met Andrew a few years ago recalls that “He was out of his mind. He was drunk. He was drunk to the point where the owner and the bartender had to tell him, ‘You’re done. Leave the bike here,’ but he wouldn’t listen” and drunkenly drove off.”
So what happened and who was this man? Andrew’s family are awaiting results of an autopsy, including toxicology reports, and information continues to trickle out that sheds more light on how this sad event occurred.
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