Published On: Fri, Aug 30th, 2019

Coroner says Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died from fentanyl and oxycodone overdose

The medical examiner in Texas reported today that Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died from a toxic mix of the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone along with alcohol in an accidental overdose.

photo/ Not That Bob James on Flickr (Original version)
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Skaggs, 27, was found dead in a Dallas hotel room on July 1 ahead of a four-game series against the Texas Rangers.

The technical report from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office that Skaggs died as a result of “mixed ethanol, fentanyl, oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents,” designating “Manner of death: Accident.”

Skaggs’ family released a statement on Friday suggesting a team employee was part of the investigation into the death.

“We are heartbroken to learn that the passing of our beloved Tyler was the result of a combination of dangerous drugs and alcohol,” the statement said. “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.”

Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, a professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the cause of death was aspiration, but “that was secondary to the overdose” from drugs and alcohol.

“Fentanyl, especially, is a very potent central nervous system depressant,” said Kobilinsky, who was not involved in Skaggs’ case.

“There’s no hesitation in calling this a drug death,” said Dr. Cyril Wecht, a prominent forensic pathologist who was not involved in Skaggs’ case. “The level is significantly high for fentanyl … That is a level above which cases of fatality have been reported and then the alcohol level was not insignificant.”

The Angels issued a statement on Friday prior to their home game against the Boston Red Sox.

“Tyler was and always will be a beloved member of the Angels Family and we are deeply saddened to learn what caused this tragic death,” the team said in the statement. “Angels Baseball has provided our full cooperation and assistance to the Southlake Police as they conduct their investigation.”

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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