Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2019

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Dave Dave, who was set afire as boy, died of natural causes


Susan Sterner / AP

Dave, formerly known as David Rothenberg, poses for a portrait, Feb. 22, 1997, in Los Angeles. Dave suffered burns over 90 percent of his body when he was 6 when his father tried to murder him.

Medical examiners in Las Vegas have determined that artist Dave Dave, who was badly scarred when his father set him on fire as a boy, died of natural causes.

Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said in a statement Monday that the artist born David Rothenberg died July 15 of sepsis due to pneumonia. He was 42.

As a 6-year-old, Dave was set afire and badly burned in 1983 by his father in a Southern California motel room near Disneyland.

He underwent numerous skin grafts but refused to define himself as a victim. He became a close friend of Michael Jackson's.

Dave's father, Charles Rothenberg, went to prison for attempted murder and later amassed a criminal record for other crimes before being sentenced in California in 2007 to 25 years to life in prison.