Former Major League Baseball star Roy Halladay’s autopsy report suggests that the two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, who was killed in a plane crash in November, 2017 at the age of 40, had multiple drugs in his system at the time of his death.
The news comes shortly after the Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office released Halladay’s autopsy, with publications such as the New York Daily News obtaining copies and summarizing the findings. The autopsy suggests that Halladay had morphine in his system, and while the Daily News noted that this is oftentimes a sign that a person had recently used heroin, the report did not include any definitive proof that Halladay used the drug in the days leading to his death.
In addition to morphine, a few other drugs were detected in Roy Halladay’s system, according to the autopsy report. These included trace amounts of amphetamines and about 72 ng/ml of the insomnia drug Zolpidem, which is popularly marketed as Ambien. The Zolpidem reportedly found in Halladay’s system was described as a large dosage by the New York Daily News, which cited the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in saying that any dosage above 50 ng/ml is potentially able to “[impair] driving to a degree that increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident.”
Roy Halladay’s official cause of death was listed on his autopsy as blunt trauma and drowning, with the report adding that he suffered multiple rib fractures, lung, liver, and spleen injuries, and a subdural hemorrhage as a result of the plane crash. According to USA Today, Halladay’s system also had traces of the antidepressant fluoxetine, or Prozac, as well as a blood alcohol level of 0.01.
Halladay was killed on November 7, 2017, when his single-engine, light-sport category aircraft crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, about 10 miles off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida. He was the only person in the plane, and as the New York Daily News noted, previous reports alleged that he was “[flying] erratically” shortly before his plane crashed.
A first-round pick in the 1995 MLB Draft, Roy Halladay played 16 seasons in the majors from 1998 to 2013, including 12 for the Toronto Blue Jays and his last four seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies. Aside from winning one Cy Young Award each in the American League for the Blue Jays and the National League for the Phillies, Halladay was an eight-time All-Star pitcher who retired with a career win-loss record of 203-105 and an earned run average (ERA) of 3.38, according to his Baseball Reference player page.