Actor Blake Heron Dies at 35

By Keri Blakinger 09/11/17

The 35-year-old actor had recently completed a stint in rehab.

Blake Heron
Photo via Dorri Olds’ YouTube

Shiloh star Blake Heron died Friday of a suspected drug overdose, according to media reports. 

The 35-year-old celeb’s girlfriend found him unresponsive in his Los Angeles home, just days after he finished his last rehab stint, according to TMZ. Leading up to his death, Heron had been sick for a number of days, and when first responders arrived at the Alabama Street home, they found multiple prescriptions for the flu but no illegal drugs. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies still dubbed it an “apparent overdose of an illicit narcotic substance” and administered Narcan spray, according to the Pasadena Star News. Official cause of death is still pending an autopsy.

Though the California native also appeared in We Were Soldiers, ER, and Boston Public, Heron was best known for his role as Marty Preston in the 1996 Disney movie based on the Phyllis Reynolds Naylor novel.

Most recently, Heron made waves playing himself in Tommy Swerdlow’s Tribeca Film Festival drug pic A Thousand Junkies. Described as “a drug movie that struggles to find any drugs and a road movie that drives in circles,” the dark comedy was born when three former users who’d met in AA teamed up to make a movie.

Back when the film premiered earlier this year, the film’s stars—Swerdlow, Heron and TJ Bowen—all sat down with The Fix to dish on their dark pasts. 

“It’s in my genes,” Heron said at the time of his drug use. “I grew up around it, so, it was the norm to me. I was always intrigued by the darker side of life. It seemed exciting and fun.”

At 12, he made his first foray into drug use. “Typical smoking weed at first, and drinking, which quickly progressed to cocaine, speed, and ecstasy,” he said. “Then I had my first taste of opiates with Vicodin. I found exactly what I was looking for. Opiates felt like I’d found home.”

In 2008, after a failed suicide attempt and an intervention, Heron packed off to rehab. On his first day trip out of treatment, he found his then-girlfriend dead of an overdose. “It is the most heartbreaking situation I’ve ever experienced,” he said.

In response, he threw himself into his sobriety—and connected with his future co-stars. “I immersed myself in recovery and met these guys at a meeting and we all became friends.”

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.