The family of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs has said it was startled to learn that an employee of the MLB club ‘may’ be part of the investigation into the 27-year-old’s death from an accidental drug overdose.
The statement came just hours after a Texas coroner’s report on Friday said that Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system.
‘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 family’s statement said.
Now, family members have hired high-powered celebrity attorney Rusty Hardin, whose former clients include MLB legends Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs.
Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died suffocating on his own vomit after taking a deadly mix of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol, the medical examiner has ruled
Skaggs is seen with his wife. The pitcher’s family has suggested an employee of the team was somehow involved in his death by opioid overdose in July
Attorney Rusty Hardin (left) is seen with client and NFL running back Adrian Peterson in 2014. Skaggs’ family have hired Hardin to represent them regarding the pitcher’s death
Full statement of Skagg’s family
‘We are heartbroken to learn that the passing of our beloved Tyler was the result of a combination of dangerous drugs and alcohol.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1 before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.
‘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 family said.
The statement thanked police in the Dallas suburb of Southlake for the investigation and said they ‘were shocked to learn that it may involve an employee of the Los Angeles Angels.’ The family said it hired Texas attorney Rusty Hardin to try to determine how Skaggs obtained the drugs.
Southlake police said the investigation was ongoing and wouldn’t release additional information.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler cited the investigation when declining to comment on the possibility of an employee being involved, and whether that person was still with the club.
‘Everyone in the organization wants facts, which is why we are actively cooperating with an investigation,’ Eppler said before the Angels hosted Boston. ‘We miss Tyler every day. That clubhouse misses him every day.
‘Nothing we learned today changes those feelings. Not one bit. But this is like a shot to our core. And it brings back a lot of pain for that tragic day.’
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said the league had been unaware of the allegation and planned to investigate.
The Angels took to Twitter Friday writing: ‘Tyler was and always will be a beloved member of the Angels Family and we are deeply saddened to learn what caused this tragic death. Angels Baseball has provided our full cooperation and assistance to the Southlake Police as they conduct their investigation’
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office didn’t comment beyond its report.
A toxicology report found Skaggs had a lethal mix alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone in his system when he died.
He also had ‘terminal aspiration of gastric contents’, which essentially means he suffocated on his own vomit.
The Southlake Police Department said it is still investigating Skaggs’ death even after his death was ruled an accident.
The Angels took to Twitter Friday writing: ‘Tyler was and always will be a beloved member of the Angels Family and we are deeply saddened to learn what caused this tragic death. Angels Baseball has provided our full cooperation and assistance to the Southlake Police as they conduct their investigation.’
Oxycodone is banned pursuant to Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement while fentanyl is labeled as a ‘drug of abuse’ under the agreement.
Skaggs, who married his wife Carli in December, was found dead in his Texas hotel room in July
Skaggs had posted a photo with his teammates getting ready to board a plane to Texas just one day before he died. His wife had also shared a Cowboy-theme image (above) of him just hours before he was found dead
Skaggs had only married his wife Carli in December and they had plans to start a family.
Skaggs was found dead in his Hilton hotel room in Southlake near Dallas on July 1 before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers.
He had posted a photo with his teammates getting ready to board a plane to Texas just one day before he died. Skaggs’ wife had also shared a Cowboy-theme image of him just hours before he was found dead.
The first game against the Rangers was postponed in the wake of his death.
Police revealed at the time that they did not suspect suicide.
Those who had spent time with him a day earlier had reported that he seemed ‘completely normal’.
Skaggs’ death stunned his team and forced the postponement of the opener of a four-game set against the Texas Rangers. The first game back (above) was played on an eerily quiet night with no music or on-field promotions
A make- shift memorial was set up outside the Angels Stadium in Anaheim soon after his death was reported on July 1
Skaggs’ death laid bare the emotions of manager Brad Ausmus, star outfielder Mike Trout and fellow left-hander Andrew Heaney, his best friend on the team, along with the rest of his teammates and Angels staff members.
The first game after Skaggs died was played without music or the usual in-game promotions for the Rangers, who painted his number ’45’ on the back of the mound at Globe Life Park.
The Southern California native was drafted by the Angels in the first round in 2009 and made his big league debut with Arizona three years later after being traded.
Skaggs returned to the Angels in 2014 and missed all of the next season recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left elbow.
He also spent more than three months on the disabled list in 2017 with a right oblique muscle strain.
Skaggs was 28-38 with a 4.41 ERA in 96 career appearances, all starts.