Disturbing Details Found In Billy Mays' Autopsy Report

Legendary midnight infomercial pitchman Billy Mays endeared his way into our insomniac hearts whether we wanted him there or not. You couldn't help but love him. He was like a charismatic teddy bear who was super excited about getting the ketchup stains out of your Sunday slacks. A standup guy. A little overzealous when it came to OxiClean, maybe, but no big deal. We all have our quirks.

So we were all understandably heartbroken when he died in June 2009. According to Travel Weekly, the home shopping host died the day after he hit his head on the overhead compartment during a rough landing when the plane he was on blew out a tire on the runway. He reportedly told his wife Deborah that he was feeling unwell before he went to sleep that night after the flight. Deborah found him dead when she woke up Sunday morning. But did this freak accident have something to do with his death? Let's take a look at what Billy Mays' autopsy report said and see.

Billy Mays' autopsy report said his death had nothing to do with the head injury

The police said that any links between Mays' death and the injury he sustained on the flight "would purely be speculation," according to ABC News. And his autopsy report confirmed that the bump on the head from that rough touchdown was merely coincidental and had nothing to do with his death. The autopsy also revealed why Mays was always up all night and so ebullient about stain remover.

CNN reports that the medical examiner found cocaine in Mays' system and that his use of the drug contributed to the heart disease that ultimately took his life. The low levels of the drug present in his system at the time of his death led Dr. Leszek Chrostowski, who performed the examination, to deduce that he had used it "in the few days prior to death but not immediately prior to death."

But Mays' second favorite white powder wasn't the only drug that turned up in his autopsy. The medical examiner also found low levels of ethyl alcohol, aka a few cold ones, as well as a mini pharmacy of prescription drugs. He had been taking the narcotics oxycodone, hydrocodone, and tramadol, as well as the anxiety meds Xanax and Valium. Billy Mays' dishes, counters, and trousers may have been squeaky clean, but there was no such detergent to wipe away the damage those drugs did to his heart.

Billy Mays had a heavy heart and a bad hip

Mays' heart was not in the best of health. The Los Angeles Times reported he had hypertensive heart disease, which occurs when high blood pressure goes untreated for a long time. Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Vernard Adams' said in a news conference that Mays' heart was "heavier than normal," due to an enlarged left ventricle, otherwise known as left ventricular hypertrophy (via the L.A. Times). With this condition, the walls of the left ventricle become thick and eventually constrict blood flow to the main chamber of the heart, altering the heart's electrical signals and causing an irregular heartbeat, according to Cleveland Clinic.

But that wasn't the only health condition Mays suffered from. He also had a bad hip, and that could be the explanation behind the painkillers found in his system. Adams reported that the infomercial star was taking them for hip pain and that he had been taking the correct dosages of the drug, per the Los Angeles Times. In fact, Mays was scheduled to have hip-replacement surgery the Monday after he was found dead, according to CBS News.

Mays' wife disputed the original autopsy report

While the original medical examiner's report, performed in June of 2009, reported that Mays' cocaine use contributed to his death, Mays' wife was not happy with those findings and hired an independent medical examiner in October of the same year. "We found this to be so upsetting that we asked for a review by an independent medical examiner," she said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The second autopsy report concluded that cocaine was not a contributing factor in Mays' death. "There is no evidence that Mr. Mays' death was related to acute cocaine intoxication with coronary artery spasm or dissection or even aortic dissection for that matter," Dr. William Manion wrote in the report (via the Chicago Tribune). The report also pointed out that Mays did not have any other conditions that are commonly associated with cocaine use, such as kidney disease and/or other heart conditions. Moreover, family and friends did not report that Mays showed any signs of chronic drug use, per the Tribune.