Billy Mays autopsy

Aug 7, 2009 at 5:40 p.m. ET

The autopsy report of Billy Mays reveals that cocaine contributed to the pitchman's death.

Billy Mays had cocaine found in his system from an autopsyThe Hillsborough County medical examiner's office determined that Mays died of a heart attack in his sleep, but the report adds cocaine as a "contributory cause of death."

"Cocaine use caused or contributed to the development of his heart disease, and thereby contributed to his death," the office said in a press release.

They specified that, while Mays clearly used cocaine at some time in the few days preceding his death, he was not under the influence when he died. A spokesperson for the county said nothing in the report indicates the frequency of Mays' drug use, but judging from the shirt he's wearing in the photo here, it was often enough to permanently cloud his judgement.

In addition to cocaine, the toxicology report indicates therapeutic amounts of the painkillers hydrocodone, oxycodone and tramadol as well as the anti-anxiety drugs alprazolam and diazepam. Mays was scheduled for hip replacement surgery the day he was found dead; it is believed the painkillers were related to his painful hip condition.

The family is understandably upset that the report was made public and plan to contest the findings. Wife Deborah issued the following statement:

"We are extremely disappointed by the press release released by the Hillsborough County medical examiner's office. We believe it contains speculative conclusions that are frankly unnecessary and tend to obscure the conclusion that Billy suffered from chronic, untreated hypertension, which only demonstrates how important it is to regularly monitor one's health.

Given the hectic nature and pace of Billy's life, especially during the past 10 months of his exhaustive travel across the country, it was not surprising to hear that hypertension was the cause of his death. We were totally unaware of any nonprescription drug usage and are actively considering an independent evaluation of the autopsy results."

Mays was found unresponsive in the master bedroom by Deborah in their Tampa condo on June 28. He spent years pitching cleaning products and handy gadgets on the Home Shopping Network, commercials and informercials. In fact, Mays' image was so personally tied to his work that the pallbearers at his funeral wore OxiClean shirts.

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