LOS ANGELES, USA – Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs had the powerful opioids fentanyl and oxycodone as well as alcohol in his system when he was found dead in a Texas hotel room in July, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner said Friday, August 30.
A toxicology report released by the medical examiner's office in Texas described the potent cocktail of drugs in the 27-year-old's body and listed his cause of death as "alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents."
The report called the manner of death "accident."
Just hours after it became public, Skaggs' family issued a statement that said police investigating the circumstances of the pitcher's death were studying the possibility that an Angels employee may have been involved.
"We are heartbroken to learn that the passing of our beloved Tyler was the result of a combination of dangerous drugs and alcohol," the Skaggs family 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."
The pitcher's family said they had hired an attorney to help uncover the details of how Skaggs obtained the drugs in his system.
The Angels released a statement as well saying they were cooperating with the police investigation into Skaggs' death.
"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 a statement. "Angels Baseball has provided our full cooperation and assistance to the Southlake Police as they conduct their investigation."
Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1 after the Angels arrived in Texas for a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. He was discovered fully clothed on his bed with no signs of trauma.
Searching for facts
Almost 400,000 people have died from overdoses involving prescription or illicit opioids in the United States over the past two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"I can just say that we were saddened by that report when it came out and completely heartbroken,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said prior to the team's game against the Boston Red Sox in California on Friday.
"Everyone is searching for facts. Everyone in the organization wants facts, which is why we are actively cooperating with an investigation.
"I think it goes without saying I can't comment more on the investigation until the police conclude their investigation. But what I can say is that it is hard to find the words just how difficult the last couple months have been on everybody in his organization." – Rappler.com