Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs had a combination of fentanyl and oxycodone, along with alcohol, in his system when he choked to death on his own vomit, a newly released toxicology report showed via the Los Angeles Times.
The toxicology report was released Friday by the Tarrant County medical examiner's office and listed the 27-year-old's cause of death as a mixture of "alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents." As the report noted, the wording means that Skaggs choked on vomit while he was under the influence of the mix of drugs.
Blood tests showed that Skaggs had 3.8 nanograms per milliliter of fentanyl in his system, which experts called a significant amount but not "outrageously high." Fentanyl is a highly addictive and powerful synthetic opioid originally used for relief of acute pain. It can also be highly dangerous and a leading cause of the opioid epidemic that has spread across the United States.
It was not immediately clear why Skaggs was in possession of fentanyl but his death was ruled an accident.
On Friday, the family of Tyler Skaggs released a statement hinting that an Angels employee may have been involved in his death.
"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," the statement read.
"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. To that end, we have hired attorney Rusty Hardin to assist us."Skaggs was found unresponsive in a Southlake, Texas, hotel room on July 1. As ESPN reported, police responded and found the pitcher dead on the scene. Police immediately stated that they did not suspect foul play, and launched a full investigation into his death.
The team had traveled to Texas for the start of a series against the Texas Rangers at the time of his death. The game scheduled for that night was postponed. When the Angels paid tribute to Skaggs the following week, all wearing No. 45 in honor of the deceased pitcher, the team threw a combined no-hitter.
There had been no signs of health issues for Tyler Skaggs, who had just pitched days before his death against the Oakland Athletics. His spot in the rotation was due up again for the team's Fourth of July game against the Texas Rangers.