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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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last nof p.s.

"Be certain to tell all of your friends."

"The neighborhood at-large."

"Anyone who asks, hell even those that don't ask/don't care."

"That is was accidental rope perpetuation."

"Oh and get to as many of your teachers as possible."

"To prevent rumors from circulating."


Surfing family, it's no shame that the guy couldn't-handle and needed drugs - who doesn't/hasn't

-life isn't easy - and he did well - "Don't diminish him."


1231 days ago


Living here on north shore Oahu. Having loads of friend in the big wave surf circle. Having spoken to those who knew Andy, who surfed with Andy, and knew Andys habits, he was a drug addict. Sad, he had tried rehab. One close friend told me right after he passed that the family would be doing the surfing community a massive disservice by doing exactly what he predicted they are doing and denying he had a problem. Drugs are a problem in the surfing community, a lot of big wave riders use meth and coke. His family should be speaking out about then tragedy of his drug problem and try to put their energy towards helping others with addiction problems.

1231 days ago


We all die sooner or later young or old.

1231 days ago


I think the wife was just saying...even when your a famous surfer you cant get good coke when your out of town. It had that white trash meth mixed in. That could have made the stuff too different or last too long and so the idea was to use something to make it stop... "all i have is this methadone man". Its hard to believe a person could surf and be a heroin addict but plenty of surfers get stoned. He was a great surfer. good looking also. Cowabunga.

1231 days ago

insurance adjuster    

If he had life insurance, then it will be tough to get a claim if he killed himself with drugs.

1231 days ago


Sorry, John, but I kinda think you're full of **** about what it is you do. You're entitled to your opinions just like the rest of us. But no need to try and play like yours should hold more weight because you are somehow specially qualified. Peace.

1231 days ago


@Amy oh wow I am sorry I am not qualified for you. I have been in insurance since may 2001. I started paying normal medical claims like normal doctors like for codes 99212 99214 99396 etc.

After a few years I was upgraded then upgraded again and I do hold lic's under a few different areas and when I stopped paying claims I had a 3 million dollar auth. I am now very lucky and I don't have to do the same ole boring claims paying anymore and now I am in medical review since I have a very strong medical past.

Just based on the stupid claims paying training and all that crap I know more than most and I know you can take a word like Benzo and add many different endings to it to mean different things. I also know how a report is filed and if your not trained on how to read them then the first thing you might do is run to wiki and plug in a big fancy word then copy half of its meaning.

Funny thing is with Cocaine there are other stronger clues left in the body and TMZ hasn't said anything about that also they haven't stated what the medical report stated the Benzoylecgonine came from.

As for life insurance its just like any other insurance. You can get whatever you want and for how much if you pay up. You can add special clauses to include things like accidental OD to a extra 5 mill if you die by being gored by a bull. You got the cash they will write it how ever you want.

1231 days ago

Chun LI    

Another delusional wife.Get over it,your husband was a druggie.

1231 days ago

Zippy T. Pinhead    

OK, lets meet half-way and call it a drug addict with a bad heart!

1231 days ago


The family wants to protect his name and brand, which is understandable. But the public should be given the whole story so they can make up their own minds. Whatever the cause - he died too young.

1230 days ago


@Julie - You are so spot on. And I mean no disrespect to Andy or his family by calling out what I perceive as the reality. But you have gone straight to the heart of the matter...for those of us who know the reality of the situtation and/or have dealt with addicts in our own close circles, it is disappointing to see people trying to cover up what could be a lifesaving lesson to the young kids coming up: the high you get from becoming one with the power of Mother Ocean is all you need...do not be weak and give in to the drug subculture...it is completely unnecessary and can cost you not only your reputation and your potential but also your life.

1230 days ago


ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff 8 hours ago
they did an autopsy and found drugs in his system.......well autopsies dont lie...this family is delusional! i see them after the insurance money.......cause they wont pay out if he died of a drug overdose. pathetic family! doing all they can for money and not really caring about the dudes drug problem.

Listen, it doesn't mean they're greedy bastards just because they need his life insurance to pay out, maybe his wife ( did he have children? Regardless) needs the money legitimately. You don't know what the families cir****tances are, you should be a little less judgemental. Besides as anyone who's lived life with an addicted spouse, son, brother, father, etc. knows it's impossible to make someone get well, the addict has to decide for themself they WANT to do it, nobody can make them. Forcing rehab rarely ever works. Just because TMZ makes all these claims and statements doesn't mean that any of us know what the family is going through or what their cir****tances are. Judge less, live more.

1230 days ago


For all those that are wondering about the "meth" comment from his wife.... The autopsy/tox report showed methadone and also trace amounts of methamphetamine.

@Amy no they are not connected to cocaine... but most people know that many drug dealers cut their drugs with another drug to increase addiction/effect, so you will be a return shopper.

The sad thing is a young man is gone. He struggled for many, many years with addiction and never managed to get control of it. He will be missed by all that loved him.

1230 days ago


Read more before you judge! The death was labeled "natural". The autopsy report was interpreted by 2 independent forensic experts, one who questioned listing "drug ingestion" under "cause of death" as it "did not contribute to the death".

Also, the Irons family knows and admits Andy was a long time drug user, trying several times to intervene, and Andy tried several times to recover.

So, pleeease. Read more before you harshly judge a family and their deceased son.

1230 days ago


Hate to inform you, Amy, but methadone isn't used for RECOVERING heroin ADDICTS. That's called drug replacement...not recovery.

1230 days ago
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