Steve Tyler and Justin Murdock

Steven Tyler and Justin Murdock

Whether Steven Tyler has left Aerosmith on the verge of their 40th anniversary or not doesn’t matter. Sources close to Tyler say he is “in terrible trouble” and fear for his life. They are not kidding.

Pople who know the deal with Tyler say two things are contributing to his downfall: much loathed girlfriend Erin Brady and newish best pal, Justin Murdock, 35, heir to the Dole Pineapple fortune. Friends say Murdock, who’s been photographed going into nightclubs with Tyler, is helping the historically drug addicted singer live on the Pineapple Express by allowing him to party hard.

Murdock has recently come into his own tabloid wise, getting blamed for the break up of pop star Avril Lavigne’s marriage. Apparently he’s gotten into feuds, as well, with youngish actors like Jason Statham.

Murdock lives in Hawaii, which has been Tyler’s travel destination several times this year. It’s been a good place to get away, so to speak, friends say.

Brady, who is no shrinking violet but rather a student at Courtney Love College, made the press two years ago when she got into a catfight with another girl at a Florida nightclub. Hair pulling and eye scratching were involved.

But there is real concern, all puns aside, for Tyler’s health. Pictures this summer after he fell off a stage and broke his shoulder showed him looking perilously thin.

Insiders tell me that Tyler and Brady have several odd idiosyncratic practices, including “practicing how little they can eat in one day.” That would account, at least partially, for Tyler’s gaunt appearance.

I’ve made several calls to Tyler’s new manager, but none have been returned. I am told that Tyler’s situation these days is much like Michael Jackson’s was in the years before his death. “The people who work for him are afraid to do anything,” one source says.

Adding to the problems is that Tyler and Aerosmith each have separate management for the first time ever.

Meantime, Tyler is not keeping in good communication with his family. “I’m worried about Steven,” says a member of his circle. “He’s a different man than he used to be.” Tyler has four children: actress Liv Tyler (mom: Bebe Buell), model Mia Tyler (mom: the late Cyrinda Foxe, his first wife), and Chelsea and Taj (mom: Teresa Barrick, second wife, now divorced).

More elucidating: Tyler’s recent comments about leaving Aerosmith to do a solo album are nonsense, says a source. “It was always written into his contracts that he could do a solo album or project. He doesn’t need leave to do that. The real reason he’s gone AWOL is drugs.”

Indeed, Tyler has a long history with addiction dating back to the 1970s. The word now is that friends fear Tyler’s demons may have instigated that stage fall last summer. A domino effect set in after that as Tyler had to be treated for pain with prescription drugs ‘ his arch nemesis.

Tyler’s apparent appetite for self destruction is a sad revelation. A little over a year ago I saw him perform at Boston’s Symphony Hall for an all-star PBS show put together by Chris Botti. Tyler brought his elderly dad, and sang the Charlie Chaplin song, “Smile.” to him. It was a poignant moment and Tyler still seemed to be in good shape. But now I’m told that his problems had already begun then.

More to come.

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