The cause of Los Angeles Angeles pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ death has been revealed.
The 27-year-old Skaggs, who was found dead on July 1 in a Texas hotel room, passed away due to “alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents,” according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office. In other words, Skaggs essentially choked on his own vomit while under the influence.
According to the report, the death has been ruled an accident and there was no foul play suspected. However, the Southlake Texas Police Department has stated that an Angels team employee may have been involved — likely relating to the question of who gave Skaggs the drugs.
Angels beat writer Maria Torres tweeted out the official statement from Skaggs’ family following the release of the autopsy.
“The statement: 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 onging investigation into the circumstances surrounding Tyler’s death. We were shocked to learn that it may involve an employee of the Los Angeles Angeles. 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.”
The Southlake Texas Police Department has stated that its investigation relating to Skaggs’ death is still ongoing.
Professor Says This Could Be Classified as ‘Drug Death’
As Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky point outs — via a report from Jamie Gumbrecht and Jacqueline Howard of CNN — this could be classified as a “drug death.”
“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.”
Tyler Skaggs Had Pitched Just Two Days Before His Passing
Skaggs was found unresponsive in his room on Monday — just two days after he last pitched during a 4 1/3-inning appearance against the Oakland Athletics.
The 6-foot-5 Skaggs was originally drafted by the Angels in 2009 out of high school and made his major league debut in 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The starting pitcher compiled a 28-38 record with a 4.41 ERA and 476 strikeouts during his major league career.
Prior to the start of the 2014 season, Skaggs was traded back to the Angels. Before his passing, he was having one of the best years of his career, posting a 7-7 record in 15 starts — including three wins in his last four appearances.
We’ll keep you updated here at Heavy regarding Skaggs and how exactly it involved the team employee as soon as more information becomes available.
Follow D.J. Siddiqi on Twitter @DJSiddiqi