Billy Mays’ heart attack likely due in part to cocaine

Celebrity pitchman Billy Mays, who died suddenly of heart failure in his sleep on June 28th, was just shy of his 51st birthday when his wife found him unresponsive early that Sunday morning.

His relative youth and apparent good health made his sudden and unexpected death all the more sad for many people, including those who had grown newly fond of the exuberant sales guru on his Discovery Channel show Pitchmen. Many initially speculated that Mays had died due to the “hard landing” he’d tweeted about the previous morning at a Miami airport, but initial autopsy reports indicated that there was no head truama present.

Toxicology reports have come back in the case and it appears Mays’ tragic death may not have been so unsurprising. Cocaine, sometimes a factor in cardiac arrest, was present in Mays’ system. It was concluded that Mays used the substance in the days leading up to his death, although not immediately prior to it. “cocaine use” is listed as an official contributing factor on his death certificate.

According to TMZ, cocaine was not the only substance noted in the toxicology reports:

Official documents show the following drugs were in Mays’ system — hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (painkiller), alprazolam (Xanax), nordiazepam (Valium), benzoylecgonine (byproduct of cocaine) and temazepam (anti-anxiety). Ethanol — alcohol — was also in Mays’ system.