Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs ingested a lethal combination of opioids and alcohol before he was found dead in his Texas hotel room nearly two months ago, authorities said Friday.
Skaggs choked on his own vomit due to “mixed ethanol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication,” according to findings by Dr. Marc Krouse, Tarrant County deputy chief medical examiner.
“The pharynx and esophagus are intact and are filled with gastric material,” the report found.
The death was ruled an accident.
His family released a statement saying they were “heartbroken” to learn the cause of death.
“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 statement said.
“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 statement said, adding that they had hired a lawyer to investigate.
The 27-year-old pitcher was found in bed, clothed and with no signs of trauma inside his Hilton hotel room in Southlake, ahead of the Angel’s game against the Texas Rangers.
The 6-foot-5, 226-pound Skaggs was in otherwise good health at the time of his death, the medical examiner found. He was called “a normally developed, well-nourished and well-hydrated large build adult.”
The report took note of a 6-centimeter-long scar on his left elbow, where Skaggs underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014, causing him to miss the entire 2015 season.
Skaggs is a native Californian, born and raised in Santa Monica. The Angels drafted the left-handed pitcher in 2009 in the first round but ultimately traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He made his MLB debut with the Diamondbacks in 2012 but was traded back to the Angels the next year.
The Angels said in a statement Friday that “Tyler was and always will be a beloved member of the Angels family.
General Manager Billy Eppler said at a news conference Friday afternoon that “it’s hard to find the words just how difficult the last couple of months have been on everybody within this organization,” according to video aired before the team’s Friday night game against the Boston Red Sox.
“We miss Tyler every day. That clubhouse misses him every day,” Eppler said. “We miss him in our lives and we pray for him, and we pray for his family every day.”
“Nothing that we learned today changes those feelings,” the general manager said. “Not one thing.”