The night in October 1973 when Susie Hadden delivered a premature baby by emergency Cesarean section two months early, she wasn't certain he would survive the night.
Now, 30 years and five months later, Hadden is learning of the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of her son, Max.
Max Knight, 30, was found dead in a tent near State Bridge in Eagle County on Monday morning. Authorities are investigating his cause of death.
"When he was born, he weighed just 2 pounds, 9 ounces," Hadden recalled. "They told us he seemed determined, but they weren't sure if he would make it. They were preparing us. We didn't think he would make it through the night, but he did, and six weeks later we took him home."
Hadden thinks the spirit Max displayed as a premature infant carried through into his formative years and adult life. As a fifth-grader at Strawberry Park Elementary School, he was elected Student Council president. As an adult, he was a gregarious, nonviolent person.
"He was a story-teller," Hadden said. "He loved to come into a group of people and talk and share books and music. And party -- he could party."
Knight's two greatest loves were attending concerts and traveling. The two passions went together, and he often traveled to attend concerts by favorite jam bands -- Widespread Panic and Phish among them. And he loved to participate in drum circles.
Half-sister Maggie Hadden, 21, said her brother worked to be able to travel to foreign countries -- he had been to Costa Rica and Australia. When he came home, he always shared eloquently written travel journals. His next goal was to save for a trip to Greece.
"He could put everything in his backpack and leave tomorrow," Maggie said. "I used to look forward to my brother coming home and telling me about his travels."
Knight grew up in a military family. His father, Max Knight, had a career that took the family to Germany and Panama. The younger Knight graduated from high school in Woodbridge, Va. After high school, he came to Steamboat and attended Colorado Mountain College for a year.
Later, he trained to become a chef at a five-star Italian restaurant in Eureka, Calif. His first job cooking in Steamboat was at the Steamboat Smokehouse. He moved on to Cantina, where he worked for nine years, before moving to Mambo Italiano last October.
He also enjoyed coming to his mother's kitchen, where they would stand elbow to elbow preparing moussaka and other Greek dishes.
Max had a multi-faceted personality -- he alternately amazed his family with his detailed knowledge of every bottled hot sauce ever to see a restaurant table, and with his familiarity with the classics and novelists such as Ernest Hemingway. His passion for reading often led him to gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
On the last night of his life, Max was doing what he loved, attending a concert in State Bridge.
His family was bewildered by the news of his death.
"I'd like to know what happened," stepfather Craig Hadden said. "It's just so ironic. He's so nonaggressive."
Susie Hadden took a greeting card off the mantel in her living room and shared it with a visitor. It was a Mother's Day card Max had given her a week before his death.
"Max never liked cards that had a message already written in them," Susie Hadden said.
Instead, Max wrote: "Mom -- thank you for everything ... all the little things that you do ... but mainly for always being there for me."
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