He lived for music - and died for his iPod.
A young Manhattan father struck and killed by a subway train after he jumped onto the tracks to get his dropped digital music player never went anywhere without his cherished songs, his grieving wife said.
"He loved music," said Claribel Espinosa in the Washington Heights home she shared with Shem Herman, 33. "When his MP3 fell, he went to get it."
"That's how much he loved music," said a sobbing Espinosa, 35. "He just wasn't fast enough to get out."
Herman, a freelance music writer, was on the uptown B train platform at Central Park West and 110th St. Monday arguing on his cell phone when he dropped his iPod onto the tracks, police said.
Herman quickly hopped down but couldn't avoid the oncoming train, witnesses said. He died instantly.
"He liked to walk around 110th St. and listen to his music," said Espinosa, pointing to their 2-year-old son, Dylan. "It's hard to understand how he can leave one day and not come back. It feels like a bad dream."
Herman, whose grandparents escaped the Nazis in Austria during World War II, lived his entire life in upper Manhattan, and was a student at Bronx Community College.
"He was a very loving and devoted father and husband," said mom Jackie O'Neal. "He's very young and kind of adventurous, so maybe he thought he could pull the iPod out of the tracks."