Burdette told Richards that his degree in psychology from the University of Maryland helped him keep order at the club. "You learn the behaviors of people doing something wrong. They're looking around a lot, making sure they're not being watched. I spend a lot of time at the front door watching the crowd come in, so I know who's in here," Burdette said. "What keeps me doing this after getting kicked in the head, fought, spit on, is seeing people leave the club with a smile on their face. I know that's a trite thing to say, but my job is to make sure people have fun."
Burdette was an avid D.C. sports fan. In 2010, his face appeared on a national broadcast of a Capitals game at Verizon Center. (In 2009, I was seated next to Burdette at Verizon Center when Sergei Fedorov's Game 7 playoff goal sent us both into orbit, along with the sold-out arena. The man knew how to bear-hug.)
The Maryland chief medical examiner's office ruled Burdette's death a suicide.
9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz issued the following statement:
"Josh was one of the wisest people you would ever meet. When you talked to him, you hoped you would be lucky enough to retain some of that wisdom, but you had to make the effort as he never forced it on you. But every word he spoke was from one of the kindest, most thoughtful and well-centered folks you could hope to have in your life.And then there was the fantastic joke that people that didn't know him fell for every time. Here was this scary looking dude that was a complete contradiction of his appearance. I think everyone felt a little ashamed and learned from that.I'm pretty good at moving on but this one's gonna be tough. There will be no getting over it, sorry."
Musicians and 9:30 Club regulars reacted to news of Burdette's death on Twitter:
Awfully sad to hear about the passing of Josh Burdette. Always looked forward to seeing him at the 9:30. Ain't gonna be the same now. — Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) September 2, 2013
A previous version of this post said Burdette was 35 at the time of his death.