By Melissa Leon
Published August 30, 2019
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died after accidentally overdosing on a mixture of the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone as well as alcohol, according to an autopsy report released on Friday.
Skaggs, 27, was found dead in a Southlake, Texas, hotel room on July 1, hours before the Angels were to play the Texas Rangers.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office said Skaggs died due to “mixed ethanol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents,” meaning Skaggs was intoxicated and is thought to have choked on his own vomit.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that can treat severe pain. Oxycodone is also used to treat pain and can be fatal when combined with other substances or taken in high doses.
In a statement released in response to the autopsy report, Skaggs’ family insinuated that an Angels employee might be involved in the circumstances surrounding his death, but did not elaborate.
“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,” the family said. “ ... 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 Texas attorney Rusty Hardin to assist us.”
Hardin, who has formerly represented baseball players Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens, told The Los Angeles Times that the family is devastated and wants to get to the bottom of what happened.
“I think the thing to keep in mind is they’re just still so devastated, both the wife and the family, about this young man’s death, and they just want to know what happened and how it happened,” Hardin said. “We’re going to want to know how it came about that those drugs were ingested and whether or not others are responsible for what happened.”
Skaggs was found unresponsive by police at the Hilton Hotel in Southlake shortly after 2 p.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene. He died two days after his last start with the Angels, one of 15 he made in 2019.
The Angels selected Skaggs as a first-round pick in the 2009 big league draft, right out of high school. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 and made his Major League debut there, making 13 appearances over two seasons. He was reacquired by the Angels in December 2013 and had won 25 games over five seasons with the team. Skaggs had signed a $3.7 million contract with the Angels in 2019.
He was born in Woodland Hills, Calif., and married his wife, Carli, at the end of the 2018 season. He lived in Santa Monica at the time of his death.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.