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Cocaine Use Contributed To Pitchman Billy Mays' Death

An official autopsy report shows that cocaine use contributed to the heart disease that led to TV pitchman Billy Mays' sudden death in June.

In the preliminary autopsy the Hillsborough County medical examiner's office previously determined that Mays had a heart attack in his sleep.

However, in the completed official report released on Friday, the medical examiner "concluded that cocaine use caused or contributed to the development of his heart disease, and thereby contributed to his death."

The report added that while Mays was not under the influence of the drug at the time of his death, he had used cocaine in the days leading up to it.

Cocaine can raise blood pressure and thicken the wall of the left ventricle of the heart, one of the organ's four main pumping chambers.

Mays' wife Deborah is not happy with the medical examiner's office making an official release of the findings.

"We are extremely disappointed by the press release released by the Hillsborough County," she says in a statement. "We believe it contains speculative conclusions that are frankly unnecessary and tend to obscure the conclusion that Billy suffered from chronic, untreated hypertension, which only demonstrates how important it is to regularly monitor one's health."

"Given the hectic nature and pace of Billy's life, especially during the past 10 months of his exhaustive travel across the country, it was not surprising to hear that hypertension was the cause of his death."

"We were totally unaware of any non prescription drug usage and are actively considering an independent evaluation of the autopsy results."

Mays was found dead by his wife at their Tampa home on the morning of June 28.

August 10, 2009 |

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