Jimmy Hayes died in August at just 31 years old, and now the NHL player’s cause of death has been revealed.
His widow Kristen and father Kevin Sr. spoke to The Boston Globe, explaining that his death has been ruled accidental after fentanyl and cocaine were found in his system.
The athlete passed away just one day after celebrating his son Beau’s second birthday. Jimmy, Kristen and friends shared photos and videos on Instagram Stories from the festivities. The couple had also welcomed son Mac three months earlier.
Kristen received Jimmy’s toxicology report on Friday from the Massachusetts state medical examiner. She told The Globe, “I was completely shocked. 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].”
She went on, "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.''
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Kevin Sr. said he saw signs, explaining, "I'm an addict myself. 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," saying Jimmy "made a terrible mistake and it cost him his life."
He went on, "About maybe 16 or 17 months ago, I saw a little change in Jimmy's behavior and 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."
Kevin Sr. says Jimmy told him: "Dad, I'm hooked on these pills. I got injured and I started taking them and I never got off."
Kristen said of her late husband, "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.''
Jimmy was first drafted to the NHL in 2008, and debuted with the league in 2011 with the Chicago Blackhawks. His other teams over the years included the Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.
After leaving hockey in 2019, Hayes went on to co-host the podcast “Missin Curfew,” with former pros Shane O'Brien and Scottie Upshall.