Travis Barker's ex-business partner Johan 'Yo' Esbensen dies by suicide after battle with mental illness 'post breakup'
Johan's Friends and relatives said that he was struggling personally, after a failed relationship with a Victoria’s Secret model
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA" Travis Barker's former business partner, Johan “Yo” Esbensen, ended his life by suicide recently. The Canadian streetwear designer founded the California-based brand Rogue Status/DTA in 2005. He was reportedly struggling with mental health issues.
According to The Sun, Johan had roped in Travis as an investor and partner, with the latter mentioning in his memoir that the firm made “between $4M and $10M” in the its year. Travis had posted an RIP message for his former partner, who died by suicide in 2021.
As per the outlet, the brand Don’t Trust Anyone was later dissolved, but was rejevenated by Travis in December 2019. He was spotted with wife Kourtney Kardashian sporting a black DTA t-shirt recently.
Meanwhile, friends and relatives said that Johan was struggling personally, after a failed relationship with a Victoria’s Secret model. Johan’s mom Cattis Esbensen, a Harvard-educated former early intervention specialist, 70, denied business as a catalyst in his death.
Esbenson said, "It was not a business thing. That wasn't even at the top of his list. He gave me like 10 reasons in his journal that he wrote about and that was not it. Let's talk about mental illness. Let's talk about a lifetime of not feeling like you fit in with the rest of the world, like you were out of step with the rest of the world. Let's talk about a failed relationship."
She continued, "I want to encourage people to reach out and don't turn your backs on people. I would urge anyone to seek support if they feel that they have a need for mental health counselling."
However, Esbenson revealed that her son was not involved in the second incarnation of DTA. She said, "Johan moved back to Canada in 2019. He left LA and that whole scene probably in around 2014. He could not stomach LA. (After that) he did not have anything to do with Travis Barker. He lived in Ojai for a while and because of other circumstances, he decided to return to Canada. I don't want to say anything about the way it went down."
Speaking about the relationship Johan shared with Travis, Esbeson said, “I just know that that relationship and that friendship kind of went by the wayside. Maybe they still had some contact, but I doubt it very much. I think Travis's life went in a very different direction than my son’s. The oomph of DTA disappeared when my son left DTA."
An insider had also spoken about how business to may have had a hand in Johan's drastic decision. He said. "DTA originally was one of the coolest streetwear brands in the world. But once the company partnered with Travis the focus shifted more into volume." The insider went on to add that the firm was selling at stores and then the 2008 economic crash happened “On top of that, the company had lost its core market because fans accused it of selling out to the establishment. And Yo also had personal problems. He ended up moving back to Canada," the insider added.
This is not the first tragedy to hit the blink-182 drummer. In September 19, 2008, Travis was involved in a plane crash in North Carolina that left him with serious injuries and killed his assistant and security guard. Both the pilots did not survive the crash either.
According to the outlet, Travis's best friend, Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein, who had also been on the same flight, died from an overdose a year later, on August 28, 2009.