Josh was surrounded by family when he died peacefully Tuesday night at a local hospital. Josh's aunt said he was battling a virus, and it was too much for his already weak condition. In recent years, he was on dialysis after his kidneys had failed, and his heart was too weak for a transplant.
A worship memorial service for Josh has been planned for Friday, July 11 at 7 p.m. at Springhouse Worship and Arts Center, located at 14119 Old Nashville Highway in Smyrna. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Springhouse with "For Community Servants" in the memo line.
In 2004, Josh was 15 years old when he was rescued by Wilson County detectives from his father and stepmother’s home in Lebanon. He only weighed 49 pounds, and told authorities they had chained him to a bed and starved him.
"I was so hungry," Josh said. "They would chain me up all day long and sometimes unchain me so I could clean the house."
He then went to live with his aunt's family in La Vergne. After graduating high school, Josh worked at Goodwill up until the latest illness hospitalized him. He also volunteered at Springhouse Tutorial, which is a co-op for homeschoolers.
"We will always remember Josh's smile and positive attitude. He loved his Goodwill family, and we loved him," said Angeline Bivens, manager of the Goodwill Store in Mt. View, where Josh worked. "The quality of Josh's work and his team spirit makes him irreplaceable. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and loved this remarkable young man."Josh had battled health problems since birth. He was the youngest heart transplant recipient in Tennessee as an infant, and his kidneys had failed in recent years. When we last spoke to him in April 2013, he was on dialysis for nine hours any given day.
Josh dedicated himself to fighting for tougher laws on child abuse, which led to then-Governor Phil Bredesen signing the “Josh Osborne Law” in 2008. The measure added starvation and dehydration to the list of child abuse charges.
Despite what he'd been through, Josh remained positive and said he had forgiven his father.
His father and stepmother, James and Christie Osborne, were convicted of attempted aggravated child neglect and sentenced to six years in prison. Christie Osborne's sentence was reduced on appeal, and she was released in 2008. James Osborne was released from prison in 2010.
Over the years, NewsChannel 5 spoke with Josh multiple times. For more on those stories, go to http://on.nc5.co/1qQAHNN.