Sun, Sep 01, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Opioids linked to Skaggs death

TEAM LINK?The pitcher’s family said they have hired an attorney to help discover how Skaggs obtained the drugs, as an Angels employee ‘might have been involved’

AFP, LOS ANGELES

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 on Friday.

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 in a statement said that police investigating the circumstances of the pitcher’s death were studying the possibility that an Angels employee might 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 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,” they added. “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 family said.

The pitcher’s family said they had hired an attorney to help uncover the details of how Skaggs obtained the drugs.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler cited the investigation when declining to comment on the possibility of an employee being involved, and whether that person was still with the club.

“Everyone in the organization wants facts, which is why we are actively cooperating with an investigation,” Eppler said before the Angels hosted Boston.

“We miss Tyler every day. That clubhouse misses him every day. Nothing 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 for that tragic day,” he added.

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said the league had been unaware of the allegation and plans to investigate.

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.

Almost 400,000 people have died from overdoses involving prescription or illicit opioids in the US over the past two decades, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly 48,000 Americans died in 2017 alone from opiate overdose.

Additional reporting by AP

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