The official cause of death has been confirmed for the son of “Dancing With the Stars” cast member Jack Wagner. His son Harrison Wagner died on June 6 at the age of 27, according to a case report from the Los Angeles County medical examiner.
Harrison Wagner’s Cause of Death Was Ruled an Accidental Overdose
According to Radar Online, Wagner’s death was ruled an accidental overdose resulting from a lethal mix of fentanyl and alprazolam. The cause of death ruling happened to be released on what would have been Harrison’s 28th birth, December 1.
To remember her son on his birthday, Kristina Wagner posted a tribute to her son on Instagram that was also a message for other parents suffering grief from the loss of a child.
Sometimes I feel like a pinned butterfly. There’s no second chance. There’s no see-him-again. There’s no nothing. He’s not coming back. It’s final. But life goes on. How do I spend the rest of my own without Harrison in it? What does it mean to be “all right” after the death of your child, your blood? The pain will never go away. Today is Harrison’s birthdate. I had the privilege to know him for 27 incredible years. Harrison was larger than life, but beneath his commanding presence was vulnerability and compassion. He understood his own defects and worked hard to turn them around, to strengthen his positive attributes. He was a good listener and stood up for others when they couldn’t speak for themselves. He is missed. Happy Birthday, Harrison. To all bereaved parents: May you find peace. Let’s stick around and see what’s in store for our extraordinary lives.
On Harrison’s birthday in 2019, Jack Wagner posted a photo of himself with Harrison and Kristina on Instagram and wrote, “Verified
Happy birthday Harrison!! So proud of the work your doing for yourself in your life.”
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, fentanyl is a “synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine.” It is sometimes added to heroin to “increase its potency,” but can also be disguised as potent heroin, which causes users to “believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths.”
In a public safety announcement from September 2021, the DEA said that a fatal dose of fentanyl is “small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil.” The press release also warns against illegally manufactured fentanyl.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2021 there were an estimated 107,622 drug overdose deaths, with over 80,000 of those attributed to opioids like fentanyl.
Harrison Was Found Dead in a Parking Lot in Los Angeles
At the time of Harrison Wagner’s death, the LA County medical examiner’s report simply said the deceased was found in a parking lot. No other details were given and the cause of death was listed as “deferred.”
Jack Wagner has been candid about his son’s struggle with substance abuse. In the summer of 2016, Harrison went missing for five days and the “Melrose Place” star tweeted at the time that his son was struggling with “drugs and alcohol.”
“I fear for my youngest son’s safety. Harrison has struggled with drugs & alcohol just as I did when I was younger. He’s relapsed & is MIA 5 days,” wrote Jack Wagner at the time.
Jack later tweeted, “[Thank you] for your [love] and prayers, I want to hear from you, your fears, struggles, it helps us all to share, [love]” and wrote in another tweet, “I had to get help & learn tools to deal with this, I encourage you to do the same.”
Jack and Kristina Wagner, who divorced in 2006, are also parents to son Peter, and Jack has a daughter named Kerry whose birth mother gave her up for adoption. He didn’t know Kerry until she was in her 20s. Their story was featured as part of his “Dancing With the Stars” season. Wagner competed on season 14, finishing in 11th place with his partner Anna Trebunskaya.
After his death, Jack and Kristina started the Harrison Wagner Scholarship Fund in their son’s name. On the website, they wrote, “Harrison was a bright, exuberant young man whose smile lit up any room he was in. He has left behind many men and family members who loved him deeply. We are heartbroken that he ultimately lost his battle with addiction and we hope that Harrison’s memory will live on through this scholarship and will help other young men get help for their addiction that would not otherwise be able to afford it.”
This is the second accidental overdose death of a family that a “Dancing With the Stars” alum has experienced this year. Season two alum Master P and season 12 contestant and Master P’s son Romeo Miller lost their daughter and sister, Tytyana Miller, in May 2022. Her death was later ruled an accidental fentanyl overdose.