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  • Former Colorado Avalanche player Marek Svatoš died from a drug overdose in 2016. He was 34.

    About Marek Svatoš 

    Marek Svatoš was born on June 17, 1982, in Košice, Slovakia. He started his hockey career in 1999 on the Slovak Extraliga team in his home county. He began his NHL career when he was picked up in the seventh round in the 2001 entry draft by the Colorado Avalanche.

    In the 316 games Svatoš played from 2004 to 2010 as a winger, he scored 96 goals and had 72 assists. He also played in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, as part of the Slovak national team. 

    During his final NHL season, he also briefly played for the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators. He ended his career back at the Slovak Extraliga during the 2013-2014 season. 

    How Did Marek Svatoš Die?

    Marek Svatoš died on November 4, 2016, at his residence in Lone Tree, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. 

    According to the Douglas County Coroner’s Office, his cause of death was a drug overdose. The coroner found codeine, morphine, and the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam (Xanax) in his bloodstream.

    CTE & Aftermath

    After the autopsy, his wife revealed that Svatoš had been suffering from stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death. He went through at least six concussions during his career and that’s likely what brought on the CTE.

    To deal with his CTE symptoms and the pain from an ACL injury and a shoulder injury, Svatoš started using drugs and became addicted.

    Other NHL players diagnosed with CTE after their deaths include Ralph Backstrom, Stan Mikita, Steve Montador, Todd Ewen, Bob Probert, and Rick Martin. 

    Svatoš died at the age of 34 and was survived by his wife, Diana, and their two sons. His teammates remembered him as a great hockey player and, as fellow player Joe Sakic stated, a “tremendous person.”

    Marek Svatoš’ History Of Substance Abuse

    Svatoš had a history with substance abuse and it seems to have started as a way to deal with his pain and the symptoms that came with CTE. He abused heroin and oxycodone, and the coroner found scars on his arms showing where he had injected heroin in the past. 

    His wife also stated that he had tried to end his life in the past as well and that she suspected he struggled with depression and memory loss.

    Svatoš was also dealing with legal issues in a child abuse case. He had just pleaded guilty and could have been looking at jail time before his death.

    Did Marek Svatoš Attend Addiction Treatment?

    According to his wife and The Denver Post, Marek Svatoš went to rehab at least three different times for oxycodone and heroin addiction. However, he likely relapsed after each visit, and he unfortunately wasn’t able to beat his addiction before he died.

    Recovery Is Possible

    If you or a loved one have drug addiction like Marek Svatoš, there is still hope. 

    Addiction recovery is possible when you engage with your local community, seek professional services, and build a network of ongoing fellowship and support.

    To learn how we treat addiction in both inpatient and outpatient settings, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
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