Captain Lee's Son Died in 2019 After a Decades-Long Battle With Addiction

What happened to Captain Lee’s son? Lee Rosbach penned a heartbreaking post revealing his son decade-long struggle with addiction back in 2019.


Jan. 4 2021, Updated 2:45 p.m. ET

what happened to captain lees son
Source: Instagram

Back in July of 2019, Below Deck star and one-liner extraordinaire Captain Lee Rosbach shared on Instagram that his son had passed away. The 70-year-old yacht captain dedicated a heartbreaking message to honor his late son, Joshua Lee Rosbach, who died at the age of 42.

Since his son's untimely passing, Captain Lee has sporadically discussed the effect that it had on him and his family on the show. The normally-stoic yacht captain has broken down on Below Deck about losing his son.

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What happened to Captain Lee's son?

The reality TV staple shocked fans when he shared the details of Joshua's death on Instagram. 

"This past Saturday," he wrote alongside a photo of his son, "my beloved wife Mary Anne and I laid our youngest son, Joshua Lee Rosbach to rest." 

Captain Lee revealed that Joshua battled a 20-year-long struggle with addiction before eventually passing on. "After a 20-year struggle, he finally succumbed to the demons he fought so long and so hard," the Instagram dedication continued.

what happened to captain lees son
Source: Instagram
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"Addiction is an insidious disease that knows no social status or geographic boundaries. Whether you live in a 10,000 sq. ft. mansion or a double wide trailer, the path of death, destruction, and devastation it leaves remains the same," the post read.

Captain Lee then mentioned his son's legacy, and the role he filled in their family. 

"We loved Josh unconditionally and were proud of the man he had become in spite of his problems. There was no one I ever knew who gave more of himself to those in his life. He loved with all his being without expecting anything in return," he wrote. "We both feel a hole in our souls what will never be filled."

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Captain Lee ended his tragic post with a call to action.

Rather than thank his fanbase of over a quarter million followers for their thoughts and prayers, Captain Lee concluded his Instagram post with a call to those who are fighting addiction and their families.

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"So my message to those of you who are fighting this disease," he wrote, "find a way to get help no matter what. For those of you who have a friend, family member, son, or daughter who's struggling, do whatever it takes to get them the help they need."

He added, "Be kind and loving, and try to enjoy every second you have with them. Do not pray for our son, but please take care of your children and friends who may need it, as it isn't too late for them."

According to Joshua's obituary, he passed "in the comfort of his home."

"Josh followed his father's love for the ocean," it read, "whether it was sailboating or First Mate aboard a yacht." 

Once celebrities learned of Captain Lee and his wife's loss, they came out in droves to pour their support and condolences.

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Former Below Deck Chief Stew Kate Chastain took to Twitter to write, "Beautifully written statement by Captain Lee at what is certainly a devastating time. I've had the pleasure of spending time with Captain Lee & his wife Mary Anne in their home and the love they have for their family has always been a privilege to witness."

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Real Housewives of Orange County star Alexis Bellino commented, "Drew and my heart goes out to you, your wife, and your beautiful family. Prayers coming your way." Cameran Eubanks of Southern Charm added, "I wish I knew the right words. Holding you and Mary Anne in prayer."

Even Jackie Siegel, the Queen of Versailles, who was a guest on Below Deck Med and lost her own daughter to an accidental overdose as well, added her condolences. 

"I am so deeply sorry for your loss. We lost our daughter Victoria to a drug overdose. I was on the Below Deck show with Captain Sandy and I did a tribute for Victoria by releasing Chinese lanterns into the heavens over the Mediterranean Sea."

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Jackie and Captain Lee will cement their tragic bond on Season 8 of Below Deck. She is a charter guest, and the two will discuss the respective deaths of their children due to overdose. 

On the one year anniversary of Joshua's passing, Captain Lee shared that he had gotten a tattoo of his son's face. The tribute tattoo is located over his heart. 

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He also altered Mary Anne's wedding ring to feature a heart instead of its original center diamond. The heart reads, "Josh," and it has some of their late son's ashes inside.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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