Former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs had a mixture of opioids and alcohol in his system, leading to his death in a Texas hotel room on July 1, according to medical records obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
A toxicology report determined that a combination of “alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents” was the cause of death for the 27-year-old, which was ruled an accident.
In short, test results determined that Skaggs choked on his own vomit after ingesting the drugs and alcohol.
Skaggs’ family suggests Angels employee involved
Skaggs’ family released a statement Friday suggesting that an Angels employee may have been involved in the circumstances around his death and that they have hired an attorney.
“We are heartbroken to learn that the passing of our beloved Tyler was the result of a combination of dangerous drugs and alcohol. That is completely out of character for someone who worked so hard to become a Major League baseball player and had a very promising future in the game he loved so much.
“We are grateful for the work of the detectives in the Southlake Police Department and their ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding Tyler’s death. We were shocked to learn that it may involve an employee of the Los Angeles Angels. We will not rest until we learn the truth about how Tyler came into possession of these narcotics, including who supplied them. To that end, we have hired attorney Rusty Hardin to assist us.”
Hardin, a high-profile attorney who has represented Scottie Pippen, Warren Moon and Roger Clemens in legal cases, told the Times it’s “way too early for us to speculate” about pursuing legal action.
Skaggs was found dead at 2:18 p.m. on July 1 in a Dallas-area hotel room where the Angels were staying prior to a series with the Texas Rangers. He was fully clothed, and there were no signs of trauma according to the report.
The Southlake Police Department is investigating his death.
MLB investigating allegation
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney told The Times “we were unaware of this allegation and will investigate.”
The Angels did not acknowledge the allegation in a statement released Friday afternoon.
Members of Angels management responded to the news Friday night before the team’s game against the Boston Red Sox.
“We’re saddened and completely heartbroken,” general manager Billy Eppler said.
“I was a little surprised because I had no prior notice but it doesn’t really change anything,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We lost a teammate, a friend, and we miss him.”
Skaggs’ toxicology results
The report shows that Skaggs had 3.8 nanograms per milliliter of fentanyl and 38 nanograms per milliliter of oxycodone in his system in addition to a blood-alcohol level of .122 percent, above the legal intoxication level of .08 percent.
An expert told the Times that the amount of fentanyl in combination with the other drugs in Skaggs’ system is consistent with a fatal dose.
“The level of fentanyl is a significant amount that could produce death,” said Cyril Wecht, a Pittsburgh forensic pathologist with 40 years of experience. “In this case, oxycodone and alcohol were also present and would have contributed to the death because they are also central nervous system depressants.”
Oxycodone is a commonly prescribed opioid-based pain killer. The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes fentanyl as synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent.
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