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Conflict Over Surfer's Death

6/9/2011 10:05 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The family of surfing legend Andy Irons is adamant the former world champ died as a result of complications from heart disease -- and nothing else -- however, the official autopsy report shows drugs were a factor.

Andy Irons Drugs

Seven months after Irons died in a Dallas hotel room, Andy's family released a statement today explaining Irons died from a heart attack caused by the hardening of his coronary arteries. The family says they spoke with a prominent forensic pathologist who explained Irons had a genetic predisposition to early development of heart disease ... which was SOLELY responsible for the heart attack.

However, the toxicology report and the autopsy from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner note a second cause of death -- "acute mixed drug ingestion."

According to the report, Irons had Xanax and methadone in his system at the time of his death ... along with Benzoylecgonine -- a compound commonly produced by the body after cocaine use.

Andy's wife says the surfer did not use meth, "so it is likely the substance was present in the cocaine he ingested."

Both sides seem to agree dengue fever was not a factor -- as originally suspected.

Irons was 32 years old.

The situation is a carbon copy of Billy Mays' death -- where the coroner ruled the primary cause of death was heart disease and the secondary was cocaine use. Billy's family bitterly disputed the coroner's finding as it related to drug use.

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pamela taylor    

Big difference between "meth" and Methadone...you need to correct your story

1201 days ago


No matter the cause of death, still way too young to die. May his family find comfort.

1201 days ago

Rahm Emanuel    

This is all about the cash money! Insurance company will not pay if you O.D. on drugs, just like they don't pay if you take your life. So change it to a heartattack and the leeches he calls a family get paid.

1201 days ago


People do not really realize how easy it is to OD when you are a polysubstance user. You don't have to be a strung-out addict or have taken a huge amount of something to die. The body only has so many nerve receptors to process chemical substances. And when they get full, you die. Several drinks, a couple painkillers, a few lines, and maybe a xanax or sleeping pill can do you in...easily. You stop breathing and then your heart stops beating. Just like that.

Something you need to understand about autopsy reports, too, is that they almost always list cardiac arrest as a primary cause of death because, no matter what cir****tances actually brought about your death, it is the heart stopping that ultimately causes a person to die. Then the coroner pieces together the rest of the puzzle as per tox screens, facts known about the death, and the condition of the body to make their best forensic analysis as to what caused the heart to stop.

It's a shame to see people scramble after a person's drug-related death to spin it and control what people think about it. Scramble while they are still alive, people. Get them clean.

1201 days ago


John 16 minutes ago

And there was something else that went wrong. At 32 even if it was coke and pain killers he would have spent like 00k a year on these drugs for the last 10 years to use that much to kill his heart at 32...

I am in the medical field and I am also a long term pain killer user due to a broken back. I know more about this crap than all the TMZ crew together. You don't harden your heart like that to cause a heart attack and the corner is just being lazy.
The reverse argument is also true. Maybe his genetic anomaly was not enough to cause his death @ 32.

The simple fact is, he had drugs in his system. Perhaps they exacerbated his genetic predisposition, but that's the risk one takes when doing things like taking drugs or smoking.

I still say this forensic pathologist cannot determine the difference between a drug induced heart attack, a genetically predisposition heart attack, or a combination of the two...especially with drugs present.

1201 days ago


Families never want to admit drug use. They say he didn't do drugs but then: Andy's wife says the surfer did not use meth, "so it is likely the substance was present in the cocaine he ingested

1201 days ago



1201 days ago


Life insurance does pay out even if you overdose. There is a suicide rider, but that's only for the first 2 years. The family is not saying this for the ins money, it's the truth. He had a genetic heart problem, which was increased by his drug use. And his wife saying that he did not use "meth" was refering to methanphedamines, not methadone. Andy Irons was an amazing human with inner demons...we all have them. He lived his life full throttle and accomplished more in 32 years than any one of us could ever dream of. Rest in Peace A.I. You are dearly missed.

1201 days ago


It would seem drugs hastened his death!! The family's denial of reality is pathetic!!

1201 days ago


PEOPLE only one drug at a time ok, jeez

learn to party properly FFS was it worth it?

1201 days ago


The veterans administration is the largest distributor of methadone in the country and it was developed by the Nazi's.
They use it as a cure all for pain treatment on emotionally damaged war veterans like some doctors throw antibiotics at infections.

welcome to 'THE BRAVE NEW WORLD'
Are children are being drugged into submission ~WAKE UP~

1201 days ago


Wow. Methadone, cocaine, methamphetamine, xanax, and ambien. That's a LOT of drugs.

The Irons Family has been fighting in court to have release of the report blocked or delayed. Meantime, they hired their own medical examiner to come up with the heart defect theory. And now they have hired a publicist, who leaked the reports to the NYTimes to start the spin cycle, despite the fact that they still have the officials blocked from releasing it themselves.

Maneuvering like that just doesn't give people good vibes about it. They should have just left it alone.

1201 days ago


I understand wanting to have an untarnished name but a family in denial is sadly probably one of the reasons Andy's life was cut short. To say, Andy "did not use meth, "so it is likely the substance was present in the cocaine he ingested." Meth, cocaine, tomato, tomatoe...Cocaine is an illegal and highly addictive drug!! There is no difference.

1201 days ago

JugEars McKenyan Sr..    

A drug induced surfer? No way dude..... not..

1201 days ago


Well some of these damn drug tests CAN be a false positive.NOT saying this is the case-This man-BUt i once went ot a new Dr and took a drug test and he came back in and said i Tested Pos. for THC{Pot}!!!! Well i have never smoked a joint in my life-not that type a person i have severe lung disease and i can't even breathe second smoke or i an be rushed to a ER w/ a O2 mash strapped to my face ect} Turns out i DO use this over the counter sinus med called Afrin,and it can and does test positive for THC!!! Aughhhhhhh so tests acan and do come out incorrect sometimes.

1201 days ago
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