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Jani Lane Fought Alcoholism and Lost, Says His Sister

Jani Lane
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Vicky Oswald-Ley, the older sister of late Warrant singer Jani Lane, has spoken out about her brother’s passing. Lane was found dead in Woodland Hills, Calif. on Thursday (Aug. 11), with pills and vodka in his hotel room.

Oswald-Ley told RadarOnline that her little brother had been fighting alcoholism for more than 10 years and that in the end, the bottle won. Sadly, Lane died the day before Oswald-Ley’s 56th birthday. She was expecting a call from her sibling for that reason, but instead, was notified of his death.

“Alcoholism is not something he chose,” Oswald-Ley said, insisting that drinking, but not drugs, are probably at the root cause of Lane’s death. “It’s something he fought every day and it just won.” She was quick to point out the Lane was “a heavy drinker” but not a drug addict, saying, “There were no drugs. That was one thing he could not tolerate, he couldn’t stand them. He did not do drugs.”

In a bit of a shocking twist, Oswald-Ley said that the singer’s wife Kimberly, whom he married a year ago, and his manager have not yet contacted the family since the news broke or about funeral arrangements. “It would be common courtesy to call,” she said, “we don’t even know if there’s a service.”

The death of their mother seven years ago may have factored in Lane’s inability to stay on the wagon, since a driving force was now gone. Oswald-Ley said, “She was always the glue that kept us together. She would always talk him into going to rehab and hospitals. I think when she passed that [his] desire to stay healthy died too.”

Lane’s alcohol issues — he was arrested twice for DUI, spending 120 days in jail for the second offense — led to him shutting out his family. She labeled Lane, born John Kennedy Oswald, as “talented and witty and bright,” but says her brother’s shame over his drinking problem caused him to erect a wall. “We would all have flown out to Los Angeles from Ohio to bring him back if he’d let us, but he isolated himself,” she said about the Oswald siblings.

Oswald-Ley, who last spoke with Lane on June 19, when he checked himself into a three-day detox, is left with some pretty lingering questions about her brother’s death, asking, “Why was he in a hotel? Why was he away from her (his wife)? Why was there isolation? We have so many questions and don’t know where to turn for answers.”

Answers won’t likely come for another four to six weeks, as coroners await the results of the toxicology tests.

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