ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - To just about everyone who met Johnny Tapia, he was a friend, always greeting people with smiles and hugs. But behind those smiles there were demons, Tapia epitomized the saying he had tattooed on his stomach, "Mi Vida Loca."
In addition to his public struggle with drugs, Tapia had a tragic childhood. As a small child he witnessed his own mother's brutal murder. Tapia died on the anniversary of her death.
Tapia had always been open about his struggles, including his own battle with addiction. In February on Tapia's 45th birthday he told News 13 he had never expected to live past 32, the age his mother was when she died.
But Tapia cheated death several times, by his own accounts at least four times.
Tapia recalled several drug overdoses; one on his wedding night, one in 2003 when he spent three days in a coma followed by rehab and another in 2007. Tapia's brother-in-law and Godson were actually killed in a car crash on their way to visit Tapia after that 2007 overdose.
But last February, Tapia said he was done with drugs and looking forward to the future. Tapia expressed his good fortune to still be married to the love of his life, Teresa Tapia, after 20 years and to have his children.
Tapia also said he was looking forward to taking part in a new documentary about his life.
It was his final interview with News 13.
"I want to be a better father. I want to be a better husband, and I'm doing it. I feel good. I'm happy. And this movie is coming. Everything is going my way and I don't want to tear it up," Tapia said.
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