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Andy Irons Walking Trestles

Andy Irons' official cause of death was released Wednesday, citing a "heart attack related to coronary artery disease" as well as an “acute mixed drug ingestion.” Photo: ASP/Rowland

The Inertia

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office released Andy Irons’ toxicology report today, Friday, June 10, 2011, confirming reports by the New York Times that Irons died from a heart attack “associated with coronary artery disease” and “acute mixed drug ingestion.” According to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner, “Autopsy revealed presence of severe coronary artery disease and the postmortem toxicology studies indicated recent use of methadone and cocaine. Both immunochemical and molecular studies were negative for Dengue and other flavivirus (agents causing Dengue fever). Although the primary and the underlying cause of death is attributed to ischemic heart disease due to coronary artery pathology, the presence of both methadone and cocaine is a significant finding especially in a death due to a sudden cardiac event and is listed as contributing to the death but not resulting in the underlying cause. The death is ruled as ‘natural.'”

The Irons family also hired Dr. Vincent Di Maio to review and interpret the report. Dr. Di Maiao disputed the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office findings, claiming that drugs did not contribute to Irons’ death. “This is a very straightforward case,” said Dr. Di Maio. “Mr. Irons died of a heart attack due to focal severe coronary atherosclerosis, i.e., ‘hardening of the arteries.'”

“We have no choice but to accept that two respected pathologists have come to different conclusions about a secondary contributing cause of death,” said the family in a statement to the press. The family did, however, acknowledge Andy Irons’ history of mood disorders and drug abuse.

According to the statement issued by the Irons family, “Andy was prescribed Xanax and Zolpidem (Ambien) to treat anxiety and occasional insomnia — a result of a bipolar disorder diagnosed by his family doctor at age 18. This is when Andy first began experiencing episodes of manic highs and depressive lows. The family believes Andy was in some denial about the severity of his chemical imbalance and tended to blame his mood swings on himself and his own weaknesses, choosing to self-medicate with recreational drugs.”

Andy Irons died in a Dallas hotel room on November 2, 2010 after withdrawing from an ASP World Tour event in Puerto Rico due to illness. An initial press release distributed by a Billabong employee alleged that Irons had died from Dengue Fever, a conclusion drawn based on interactions with the ASP Medical Staff.

The ASP was unwilling to provide contact information for the medical staff who treated Irons in Puerto Rico, although according to an ASP Press Release, “the medical staff met and exceeded protocols, offering Andy Irons the best possible care.” The Irons family also commended the ASP’s medical staff in their handling of Andy’s sickness.

Irons’ autopsy results were delayed twice by temporary injunctions. The first injunction lasted six months, and intended to abate the media frenzy over rumors of drug abuse while Andy’s wife Lyndie gave birth to the couple’s first son. The second injunction was scheduled to end June 20th, but was released on June 10th with the family’s permission.

Irons is a three-time World Champion and the first ASP World Champion to pass away.

Read the full statement issued by the Irons family.

  • CoriS

    Here’s to your humanity, Andy. 

  • Stu

    So, this gets me wondering…  The company I work for spends a lot of money each year on executive physical exams.  I’m not talking a 10 minute “so how have you been” exam, I’m talking a two-day, comprehensive exam, including a full cardio/heart work up.   How is it then that Andy, at the top of his game and apparently worth millions to Billabong, didn’t know he had an 80% blockage?  Do main sponsors really take NO interest in the health (mental or physical) of guys they pay top coin to?  It’s a wonder these companies remain in business.

    Unlike Cori, who thinks pro surfing needs to change to be more inclusive, I think the whole f*cking system should be shut down forever. 

    • slashmarx

      They continue to prop up the memory of this heroin addict. Everyone knew and was just waiting for him to die. This is just a way to generate dollars for his wife and kid. ASPtour apparently has a drug testing policy, but with many on the tour being pot and cocaine users, they turn a blind eye to it. No one gets suspended here on the 7 mile miracle.

  • Sheri

    Unlike you Stu, I’d rather clean up the pile of crap and
    make a positive change than to walk away and leave it on the floor to look at

  • Craig

    Go hard, die young,…………….. The drugs were surely part of it, but the cardio part should be a wake up call to everyone who thinks that heart disease is only for old people.  I say shame on the whole  US medical system, where (seemingly) healthy fit, young people  don’t get proper diagnostic work ups because they are “young and healthy” .   Watch your indulgences, watch your diet, check your blood pressure.    A tragedy all around.  Prayers for the Irons family

  • Sumflow

    What difference
    does it make if the drug use killed him or not?

  • Pingback: Demystifying the Life and Death of Andy Irons |

  • Johnbur1974

    I myself am bi polar and self medicate by using also . Don’t sleep mood swings .I feel for him its a shirt thing to deal with . I’ve been in and out of.rehabs oversized numerous times . I lost my best friend in world . My brother . If anyone reads this and feels like they have this illness please please get help . I always thought I was retarded or somthing but it is a disease that can be controsslled . Everybody has problems some more survere than others and can be controlled with the right medications. I still to this day self Medicate with what ever I can get my hands on . My brother Chris (fishy) Burgess died the same way . Come on people please get help. My condolences go out to the irons family. Exspecially to a
    Andys newborn baby . Thanks

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