Tyler Skaggs Died Of Accidental Overdose, Autopsy Reveals

By Beth Leipholtz 09/03/19

Fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol were found in Skaggs' system. 

Image: 
Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs
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Fentanyl and oxycodone, as well as alcohol, were found in Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ system, according to information released by a Texas medical examiner’s office nearly two months after the 27-year-old’s death.  

Skaggs, according to ESPN, was found unresponsive in a Southlake, Texas hotel room on July 1st. His death has now been ruled accidental, with the medical examiner declaring the cause of death “mixed ethanol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents.”

In simpler terms, this means Skaggs choked on his own vomit while intoxicated. 

Internal Investigation

Despite the medical examiner’s conclusion, Skaggs' family has expressed doubts as to the nature of his death. In a recent statement, they noted that an employee of the Angels was part of an investigation being conducted into the death. 

“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,” the statement read. “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.”

According to MLB spokesman Pat Courtney, the MLB was not aware of such an investigation and will also be looking into it. “We were unaware of the allegation and will investigate,” Courtney said

The Angels took on the Boston Red Sox the evening the autopsy was released. The team's general manager Billy Eppler refused to speak of any allegations, but expressed the team’s overall sadness and cooperation. 

"I can just say that we were saddened by that report and completely heartbroken," he said. "Everyone's searching for facts, and everyone within the organization wants facts, which is why we are actively cooperating with an investigation."

The Team Speaks Out

According to ESPN, the autopsy found 38 nanograms per milliliter of the pain medication oxycodone and 3.8 nanograms per milliliter of the even stronger pain medication fentanyl. It also found that Skagg’s blood alcohol level was .122%.

Despite their surprise at the findings, Skaggs team members and managers say it doesn’t change their grief. 

"But frankly, for me and for the guys in the clubhouse, it doesn't really change anything," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said, according to ESPN. "We still lost a teammate, lost a friend, and we miss him."

"We miss Tyler every day," Eppler added. "That clubhouse misses him every day. We miss him in our lives, and we pray for him, and we pray for his family, every day. We pray for our own healing every day, as well. Nothing that we learned today changes those feelings. Not one bit. But this is like a shot to our core, and it brings back a lot of pain from that tragic day."

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

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