Michael Jackson was the closest thing to a father figure that Dave Dave, who was born David Rothenberg, ever had. Dave even spoke at MJ's funeral.
Dave, who survived a horrific attack decades ago and was an inspiration to others, has passed away.
Once known as "burn boy" for the injuries that covered 90% of his body, Dave was 42 years old.
"Dave died of heat exhaustion on the 15th of July," Dave's friend Justin revealed on Instagram.
Justin, who goes by Lil' Eric and has worked with celebrities like Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, shared this grim news.
"Our friendship started with a hug," Justin tells RadarOnline. "And that his how he started every friendship."
"He got that from his father figure, Michael Jackson," Justin explains.
"Michael taught him to love unconditionally," Justin says. "And he did."
Justin took to Instagram to explain how he made this tragic discovery.
"Last night, I called my good friend Dave," Justin writes. "And his mother picked up the phone and we talked."
There is no good way to find out that your friend has died.
"It wasn’t what I expected or who I expected," Justin admits. "But she told me that Dave had passed away on July 15th."
This is only now going public.
"I am going to be talking to her today," Justin continued on Instagram. "She was very tired last night."
"And there will be a funeral/memorial I will be attending sometime in the near future," Justin wrote at the time.
"I know dave had a lot of people who loved him," Justin says. "And knows of his story from the early 80s."
In 1983, David's father doused him in kerosene and set him on fire. The burns covered 90% of his body.
Michael Jackson was a friend and a father figure to Dave, who changed his name to Dave Dave after surviving the tragic ordeal.
Justin acknowledges that he and Dave were different people.
"The one thing that we had in common was we didn’t have many friends," Justin says. "People that we could trust and he knew that and felt that about me and I knew that about him."
"He talked to my mother several times on the phone," Justin shares. "And was a very close friend of mine."
This is just heartbreaking.
Justin writes: "He was helping me with promotion with my career and other things as we was preparing for his own music and working together."
"I am deeply saddened today," Justin writes. "And my friend will be missed by many I’m sure."
To compound the tragedy, it's been noted that Dave's burn injuries make him extra vulnerable to heat exhaustion.
In other words, one might argue that he died from the injuries he received back in 1983.
"He was loved by many," Justin writes to his followers before addressing his late friend. "And I thank you for being apart of my life and being my friend Dave !!!!"
"RIP brother," Justin concludes.
Justin also shared a couple of photos from Dave Dave's memorial.
"My amazing friend," Justin writes on Instagram. "It was great getting together to meet everyone today."
"Your memorial was beautiful," Justin shares. "Your mother has given me many hugs."
We are sure that he was a tremendous comfort to her.
"As I got to meet your other friends your 'energy' was beautiful," Justin shares in reference to this image.
"I am posting this with your mother and your uncle and Marna in your mother’s house," Justin shares.
He tagged the late Michael Jackson in the photo. Dave had spoken at Michael Jackson's funeral.
"I thank everyone who loved my friend," Justin writes. "He was amazing and touched so many lives!!!!! Including mine."
"Thank you," Justin concludes. "Always in my heart. My brother I love you"