Billy Mays' widow says she has proof cocaine did not kill her husband
Mays' wife, Deborah Mays, issued a statement Thursday morning citing findings from a consulting medical examiner in New Jersey, Dr. William L. Manion, contradicting the Hillsborough County medical examiner's conclusions.
Specifically, Manion challenges the assertion that elements in Mays' blood indicated cocaine contributed to the heart disease that led to the pitchman's death in his sleep at age 50 on June 28.
Deborah Mays' statement did not contradict the notion he may have used cocaine in the days before his death. But, according to the release, Manion has concluded Mays was not a chronic cocaine user, extrapolating that the drug did not contribute to his death on that basis.
Manion's report notes that many of the physical conditions which appear in chronic cocaine users -- kidney damage, dilation of the heart chambers, damage to the nasal septum -- were not present. Also, Manion noted Mays has two relatives with heart conditions and a history of minor obesity.
Mays family and friends have disputed the Hillsborough County medical examiner's conclusions since its Aug. 7 release, insisting that the co-star of the Discovery Channel's Pitchmen series never used cocaine in their presence and could not have been a regular drug user.
In an interview last week, Mays' son Billy Mays III talked about the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's findings: "II think it’s a shame that it would be worded the way it was, because if you look at it, there was no cocaine found in his system. It was a metabolite which obviously my dad, on all those pain pills for his hip and all that (Mays was preparing to have his third hip replacement surgery when he died), you saw the report, all those things were prescribed to him. Obviously there’s some toxicity going on in there, so I feel like to really pick something out and say it contributed to his death is irresponsible. And I think the medical examiner made a judgment on the celebrity status and kinda jumped on it, because anyone who knows my dad knows that that’s not who he was."Click below to see the full release from Mays:
Independent Evaluation Finds that Billy Mays Death Was not Attributable to Cocaine Usage
Statement from Deborah Mays
TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Billy’s family and I have never agreed with the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s conclusion that cocaine use contributed to Billy’s death. We found this to be so upsetting that we asked for review by an independent medical examiner.
This review, conducted by Dr. William L. Manion, states that the autopsy results do not support the conclusion that cocaine was a contributory cause of Billy’s death. In fact, one of the few areas of agreement between the two reports is that it was a “natural” death. Dr. Manion goes on to say that if cocaine had been considered a significant contributing factor, the manner of death would be classified as “accidental” and not “natural.”
Dr. Manion’s report also says:
“…chronic cocaine use was not demonstrated by the autopsy findings of Mr. William Mays. In addition, there is nothing in his medical, social or professional history to suggest chronic cocaine use. Therefore, I do not believe cocaine played a significant contributing factor in the death of Mr. Mays as the autopsy specimens and findings are not consistent with the cardiac conditions normally observed in a person chronically using cocaine.”
Dr. Manion, M.D., Ph.D, J.D., is consultant medical examiner for Burlington and Ocean Counties, New Jersey and Chief of Pathology for Virtua Health in New Jersey. He is board certified by the American Board of Pathology in both Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and Forensic Pathology, and is a nationally recognized and respected expert in the field of pathology.
We believed at the time -- and believe even more now based on Dr. Manion’s report -- that the conclusions drawn by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner were not supported by the findings of the autopsy, nor by Billy’s medical history. And, although we cannot undo the damage that has already been done to Billy’s reputation, we are hopeful that this information will assist in clearing the name of a good husband, father and friend.
This has been a very difficult period for our family and we appreciate the continued support that Billy’s many fans have extended. We again thank these fans and the members of the media who have respected our family’s privacy. We are also grateful to Dr. Manion for his thoughtful and objective review of Billy’s autopsy information and the medical literature to make sense of Billy’s untimely death.