Josh Osborne, left, was awarded Goodwill Employee of the Year in 2009. He's pictured with David Jenkins, then director of retail. (Photo/Goodwill)
(Photo courtesy of Goodwill)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
After battling health issues for most of his life, Josh Osborne, a child abuse survivor, passed away early Wednesday morning.
Osborne, 24, died around 2:45 a.m., according to Goodwill, which employed him.
Osborne was found in 2004 after nine years of abuse by his father and stepmother. Osborne said he was tied to his bed and only allowed to have soup and water.
After his rescue, Osborne moved in with an aunt in La Vergne and worked with Goodwill at a location in Antioch.
"He had an infectious smile. He was delightful to be around. If you think you were ever having a bad day, all you had to do was take one look at Josh and you were having a great day because he was always having a great day," said Goodwill store manager Angeline Bivens.
Osborne was named retail employee of the year for Goodwill in 2009.
His plight was the impetus for a stronger child abuse law, which then-Gov. Phil Bredesen signed into law in 2008. The new law added starvation and dehydration to the list of child abuse charges.
Authorities in 2004 found Osborne, then 15, in his Lebanon home where he had been starved and chained to a bed. He weighed only 50 pounds.
Osborne's father and stepmother were later sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of attempted aggravated child neglect. Both have served their prison sentences.
In 1989, Osborne was the youngest transplant patient ever at Vanderbilt University Medical Center when he received a new heart as a baby.
At age 19, Osborne faced the need of a new kidney. Doctors said his kidney was damaged by the abuse he suffered and by anti-rejection drugs he took after receiving the heart transplant.
He seldom went through a day without pain but never let it get to him.
"He never, ever did that, he never focused on that. I remember an interview done with him recently and someone asked him if he had forgiven those that had wronged him, and he said, 'Oh, I did that a long time ago.' And with a big smile on his face," Bivens said.
Goodwill said a memorial service will be held for Osborne at a later time.
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