BRONZEVILLE — Friends and fans around the world are rallying around a house music legend as he is hospitalized with coronavirus.
DJ Paul Johnson was admitted to Little Company of Mary Hospital in suburban Evergreen Park in mid-July, a week after his diagnosis, he wrote on Instagram. The 50-year-old was temporarily placed on a ventilator last week — but he is now breathing on his own, longtime friend Eloise Karlatiras said.
Karlataris said the focus is now on “what to do going forward.”
Johnson, best known for his 1999 hit “Get Get Down,” has been a fixture on the house circuit since the mid-’80s. He started as a 13-year-old DJ before becoming a revered producer and creating his own House label, Dust Traxx. Recently, Johnson was spinning regularly at Le Nocturne in Uptown.
The Chicago native has enjoyed global success, as well, playing venues across six continents.
“He’s a survivor. He never gives up, and he always does what he says he’s going to do,” said Darlene Jackson, a DJ who has been mentored by Johnson. “He’s just a generous person.”
Jackson, known as DJ Lady D, met Johnson when she opened for him in 1996. His reputation as a living legend was already cemented by then, as was his selfless nature, she said.
Even when tragedies befell Johnson — an accidental shooting in 1987 led to him needing to use a wheelchair, and a car crash in 2010 led to two his limbs being amputated — he showed up for the people he loved, Jackson said.
Now, people are posting messages on Johnson’s Instagram to show their love and support for the DJ from around the world.
“When I was a kid I was dancing and listening ur hits, and now we have music together coming up,” house musician Andre Salmon wrote. “Love you brother!! You will be playing soon again!!”
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