Former NHL player Jimmy Hayes' cause of death has been revealed.
The 31-year-old's father and his wife, Kristen, told the Boston Globe that he died with cocaine and fentanyl in his system.
Hayes passed away on August 23 and an autopsy was reportedly performed two days later. However, the family did not learn his cause of death until Friday, October 15. According to the Boston Globe, the Massachusetts state medical examiner listed the cause of death as "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine."
"I was completely shocked," Kristen told the publication. "I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn’t that [drugs] . . . It didn’t make any sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different phone call when they called. I was hoping to get some clarity and I was shocked to hear that it was that . . . He never showed any signs of a struggle at home."
"I’m an addict myself," Hayes' father, Kevin, said. "I’m sober a long, long time, but I know how powerful this stuff is. I was in shock when it happened, but then I started putting stuff together in my head . . . I know what addiction does. I know about addiction."
Kevin said that he noticed a change in his son's behavior more than a year ago. "I went to him and I said, 'I think there might be a problem here with pills.' He had had an injury for a while and I think he started taking the painkillers and they get you," he explained.
"I said, 'Jim, I think I see a problem here.' And he’s 31 years old so I can’t tell him to go get help. So I said, 'When you want help, I’ll be here for you, pal. Let me know,'" Kevin explained.
Hayes reportedly called his father three weeks later and said he was "hooked" on pills he started taking after an injury. "He went to a place up in Haverhill. So he gets help and everything was on the path to recovery, I thought," Kevin added.
Kevin said he doesn't want his son to be stigmatized, but he hopes "getting Jimmy’s story out there can save someone’s life."
"I know he would give anything to still be here with us today. I am heartbroken and devastated, but I will choose to remember my husband and the boys' dad by all the joy and love he brought us, and I hope everyone else does, too," Kristen told the Globe.
The day before Hayes' passing, he and Kristen had celebrated their son Beau's second birthday. They had welcomed their youngest child, Mac, in May.