MIAMI - Saying he “fell into a depression” after losing the 2018 race for governor, Democrat Andrew Gillum on Sunday announced he is going into a rehabilitation facility because of alcohol abuse.
The announcement came after an incident Thursday night in a South Beach hotel room, where a man reportedly overdosed. Gillum was in the room, and a police report said he was “unable to communicate with officers due to his inebriated state.”
Three small bags of suspected crystal meth were found in the room, police said, but Gillum later denied doing drugs.
In the statement released Sunday night, Gillum 40, said that after “conversation with my family and deep reflection, I have made the decision to seek help, guidance and enter a rehabilitation facility at this time.”
“This has been a wake-up call for me,” Gillum said in the statement. “Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse. I witnessed my father suffer from alcoholism and I know the damaging effects it can have when untreated. I also know that alcoholism is often a symptom of deeper struggles. I am committed to doing the personal work to heal fully and show up in the world as a more complete person.”
Gillum, a former Tallahassee mayor, narrowly lost the 2018 race to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and has worked as a political analyst for CNN since the loss. Gillum sought to become the state’s first black governor and had been viewed as an up-and-comer in Democratic politics.
The incident last week at the upscale Mondrian South Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, however, drew national attention.
The room had been paid for by 56-year-old Aldo Mejias, who told police he arrived at the hotel around 11 p.m., where he discovered 30-year old Travis Dyson and Gillum “inside the room under the influence of an unknown substance.”
While Gillum was vomiting in the bathroom, Dyson collapsed and began having trouble breathing, Mejias said. He called police and fire-rescue after “conducting chest compressions on Mr. Dyson,” the police report said.
In the statement Sunday, Gillum asked that people respect his privacy and the privacy of his family.
"I now need to firmly focus on myself and my family,” Gillum said. “I will be stepping down from all public facing roles for the foreseeable future. I want to apologize to my family, friends and the people of Florida who have supported me and put their faith in me over the years.”