Cocaine a contributory cause in death of Billy Mays

By Calvin Palmer

TV pitchman Billy Mays’ cocaine use contributed to the heart disease that suddenly killed him in June.

The Hillsborough County medical examiner’s office previously determined that Mays had a heart attack in his sleep after his wife found him unresponsive in bed in their Tampa condo on June 28.

Heart disease was the primary cause of death but  a report released today by the medical examiner listed cocaine as a “contributory cause of death”.

The medical examiner concluded “cocaine use caused or contributed to the development of his heart disease, and thereby contributed to his death”.

The office said Mays last used cocaine in the few days before his death but was not under the influence of the drug when he died.

Hillsborough County spokeswoman Lori Hudson said nothing in the toxicology report indicated the frequency of Mays’ cocaine use.

The toxicology tests also showed therapeutic amounts of painkillers hydrocodone, oxycodone and tramadol, as well as anti-anxiety drugs alprazolam and diazepam.

Mays had suffered hip problems and was scheduled for hip-replacement surgery the day after he was found dead.

Mays was famous for his energetic, some may say irritating, commercials pitching gadgets and cleaning products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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