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  • Starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs was an American baseball player who passed away from a combination drug overdose involving fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol. He was known for playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels.

    About Tyler Skaggs

    Tyler Skaggs was born on July 13, 1991, in Woodland Hills, California. Both of his parents were former athletes, his mother played softball and father played baseball.

    Upon high school graduation in 2009, Skaggs played for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim when selected during the draft pick. In 2010, however, he was one of a few players who were traded from the team, sending Skaggs to play for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010-2013.

    As Skaggs continued his career with Major League Baseball (MLB), he maintained success, eventually returning to the Los Angeles Angels from 2014-2019.


    On New Year’s Eve 2018, Skaggs married his girlfriend Carli Miles. During a game against the Texas Rangers, Skaggs had to leave the field due to pain from injuries obtained over the years as a pitcher.

    Skaggs struggled with various injuries which required the assistance of medication. Suffering through the pain, Skaggs continued to perform despite the pain taking a toll on his health.

    How Tyler Skaggs Died

    At the age of 27, Tyler Skaggs passed away from an accidental overdose on July 30, 2019. He was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas, and pronounced dead at the scene.

    In his Texas hotel room, oxycodone pills were found. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), oxycodone is a schedule II controlled substance with a strong potential for abuse. Anti-inflammatory pills were also found at the scene.

    An autopsy was performed on Skaggs’ body by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner. Although drugs were found at the hotel room, the Medical Examiner’s office concluded additional substances were in Skaggs’ system at the time of his death.

    In fact, oxycodone, alcohol, and fentanyl were all found in his system. Skaggs died from asphyxiation due to suffocating on his own vomit. 

    Authorities stated fentanyl primarily contributed to the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs due to the potency of the drug.

    Legal Fallout

    According to ESPN, the staffer and Communications Director Eric Kay was found guilty for providing Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs with drugs at his request the night of his death. 

    An investigation by the Fort Worth DEA division began, resulting in Kay being found guilty for drug distribution to other Angels players as well.

    Several former Angels players such as Cameron Bedrosian, Matt Harvey, and Mike Morin testified at the trial, stating they were also provided oxycodone pills from Kay at the Angels stadium.

    Additional evidence found were text messages between Skaggs and Key, discussing drugs. There were also damaging phone calls and emails.

    This resulted in former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay being found guilty by U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means and sentenced to 22 years in federal prison. 

    During recorded phone calls from jail, Kay lashed out at the Skaggs family, telling his mother that Skaggs was a “piece of s***” and the family was “white trash.”

    Tyler Skaggs’ History Of Substance Abuse

    During the 2013 season while playing for the Diamondbacks, Skaggs revealed to his family that he was struggling with opioid use, particularly the medication Percocet. 

    Although not recommended by healthcare professionals, Skaggs stopped the drug “cold turkey” during this time.

    In 2014, Skaggs began developing injuries and received shoulder surgery. However, he only took over-the-counter painkillers and not opioid drugs due to his previous opioid abuse.

    Did Tyler Skaggs Attend Addiction Treatment?

    Although we know Skaggs attempted to stop taking opioid medications “cold turkey” and seemed to be successful in this for almost 5 years, his sport injuries left him relying on pain medications. Because of this, Skaggs spent time in and out of rehab programs for his injuries.

    Despite attending rehab centers, it is not known whether Skaggs received treatment for his drug abuse or only for his physical injuries. Those who abuse opioids should seek assistance to taper off the drug instead of quitting “cold turkey.”

    Recovery Is Possible

    Like Tyler Skaggs, many people develop opioid addiction after a sports injury. However, you’re not alone, and recovery is possible with professional tools like medical detox, inpatient care, medication-assisted treatment, and more.

    To learn more about how we can help you manage opioid use disorder, 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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