Author Topic: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released  (Read 1657 times)

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Offline SeaCliff

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NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
« on: June 08, 2011, 09:45:55 PM »
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  • Sigh.


    Read it and weep. Rest in peace, Andy.


    ***************************************

    Andy Irons, a three-time world surfing champion from Hawaii, who died at 32 in a hotel room last November, succumbed to a combination of a heart attack and drugs in his system, according to an autopsy report.

    The presence of drugs confirmed rumors that dogged Irons during his surfing career: After winning championships from 2002 through 2004, and cementing his reputation as one of the sport’s greatest competitive surfers, Irons baffled the surfing world with erratic behavior. He abruptly quit the 2008 tour, and sat out the 2009 season before making a comeback in 2010.

    The autopsy, provided to The New York Times on Wednesday by a publicist for Irons’s family, lists the primary cause of death as a heart attack related to coronary artery disease. The secondary cause is “acute mixed drug ingestion.”

    Irons was found to his hotel room in Texas. In the room, the police discovered prescription bottles for Alprazolam, used to treat anxiety, and Zolpidem, a sleep aid, along with tablets containing methadone, a narcotic used to treat pain and opiate addiction. Toxicology tests showed Irons also had cocaine and methamphetamine in his system.

    The autopsy report was prepared by the Tarrant County (Tex.) Medical Examiner’s office and will not be made public until June 20.

    The Irons family hired its own medical examiners to review the report — one of whom disputed whether drugs contributed to Irons’s death. Yet it said it would not contest the findings, and said Irons had long suffered from mood disorders and drug abuse.
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    Offline fulltilt720

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 09:52:46 PM »
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  • I was going to try  and write something about how what his legacy will but, but it doesn't really matter what I think. It's just really saddening—a surfing world champ found dead, alone, in a hotel room in Texas.

    Offline PTSD

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 09:54:50 PM »
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  • I was going to try  and write something about how what his legacy will but, but it doesn't really matter what I think. It's just really saddening—a surfing world champ found dead, alone, in a hotel room in Texas.

    Yea

    Offline Igotsoul4u

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 10:36:26 PM »
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  • depressing and disapointing,  but kids need to understand that living on the edge can have dire consequences.  A lot of people get by and don't end up dead, but it doesn't take much for it to go wrong.  Andy was an amazing surfer but he is not a hero or role model for anything outside of surfing.  I'm sure he seems "cooler" to kids then someone like Slater or Machado but there comes a time to get your act together.

    Offline fulltilt720

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 11:02:17 PM »
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  • depressing and disapointing,  but kids need to understand that living on the edge can have dire consequences.  A lot of people get by and don't end up dead, but it doesn't take much for it to go wrong.  Andy was an amazing surfer but he is not a hero or role model for anything outside of surfing.  I'm sure he seems "cooler" to kids then someone like Slater or Machado but there comes a time to get your act together.


    Agreed. He will definitely become a very polarizing figure in and out of surfing.

    Offline waterwolfnyc

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 11:24:52 PM »
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  • And this is a surprise people? This changes nothing - it's sad and its true...he was an electrifying surfer and great for surfing.


    Speed kills.


    We loved Andy becuase he was a f*cking mess and he went hard anyways.


    He was grew up in public and proved himself daily in the greatest waves found anywhere...and he fought his demons in public too. And they were some real monsters.


    RIP Andy.


    Bruce and family will carry on.











    "If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake - Aye, what then?" - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    Offline theusername

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 11:28:08 PM »
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  • I read elsewhere on surfline, that he (Andy) had a diagnosed Bipolar disorder. If that is true, he may not have been capable of "getting it together." What a tragic situation all around.
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    Offline Microcosm

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #7 on: June 08, 2011, 11:47:05 PM »
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  • A sad ending for one of surfing's greatest. Andy should be remembered and honored for his accomplishments, but he will also serve as a reminder of the high-risk surfing world.

    Perhaps I've been out of the loop, not following surfing news too closely, but maybe this will be an opening for more transparency into some of the more negative sides of the culture. Whether the drug use ultimately contributed or not, he was clearly dealing with internal struggles for much of his life. I would hope this story leads to more surfers in general seeking help for whatever their issues may be. I can see how battling giant waves and winning competitions could lead to an unwillingness to admit to internal struggle, but psychological issues can affect anyone no matter how strong they may appear.

    Trying not to ramble on, hopefully this makes a bit of sense. With all due respect, Andy's passing is a loss to the surfing community.
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    Offline uncutproducts

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #8 on: June 08, 2011, 11:54:42 PM »
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  • The brightest stars burn out the fastest. My best friend died the same way at 23. He was go go go, all the time. If the drugs didn't get him something else would have. People who knew him are glad to have, I'll bet the same rings true for Andy. RIP to those who have moved on, let's remember them for their triumphs not demons.

    Offline boyeee

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #9 on: June 09, 2011, 02:24:48 AM »
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  • The brightest stars burn out the fastest. My best friend died the same way at 23. He was go go go, all the time. If the drugs didn't get him something else would have. People who knew him are glad to have, I'll bet the same rings true for Andy. RIP to those who have moved on, let's remember them for their triumphs not demons.

    i dont think anyone could have said it better than that! RIP
    team freeloader!

    Offline EastEndWahine

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #10 on: June 09, 2011, 12:05:52 PM »
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  • The same thing killed my good friend's brother...his was a cocaine interaction with some other stuff.  Stopped his heart.  He was really young.  :(  RIP AI
    "Once you have flown, you will walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward; for there you have been, there you long to return."  da Vinci

    Offline nycwipeout

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #11 on: June 09, 2011, 12:13:04 PM »
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  • Tragic on all levels. I think this is a better & clearer report than the above.

    Irons family issues statement on Andy's autopsy  
    Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 8 June, 2011 : - - We   have received the final autopsy and toxicology report filed in   connection with Andy's death on November 2nd, 2010, from the Tarrant   County District Attorney's Office in Forth Worth, TX. The family   apologizes for the delay in the release of this information. The   injunction filed last December was to allow Andy's widow, Lyndie, who   was then eight months pregnant with Andy's son, Andy Axel Irons, to give   birth in peace.   
    Please understand that this decision meant that the family did   not learn the cause of Andy's death until May 20th, and only after a   second delay was requested by an attorney in Dallas, without the   family's knowledge or consent, to provide time for the 13-page   toxicology report to be interpreted by two independent forensic experts -   a process that took several weeks, but also enabled the family to fully   come to terms with the unexpected root cause of Andy's death.
     
    The   autopsy concludes that Andy died a natural death from a sudden cardiac   arrest due to a severe blockage of a main artery of the heart. Dr.   Vincent Di Maio, a prominent forensic pathologist in San Antonio, TX,   who has consulted on many high-profile cases, was asked to review and   explain the autopsy results to the family. He states: "This is a very   straightforward case. Mr. Irons died of a heart attack due to focal   severe coronary atherosclerosis, i.e., 'hardening of the arteries.' He   had an atherosclerotic plaque producing 70%-80% narrowing of his   anterior descending coronary artery.This is very severe narrowing. A   plaque of this severity, located in the anterior descending coronary   artery, is commonly associated with sudden death."
     
    Dr. Di Maio   continues: "The only unusual aspect of the case is Mr. Irons' age, 32   years old. Deaths due to coronary atherosclerosis usually begin to   appear in the late 40's. Individuals such as Mr. Irons have a genetic   predisposition to early development of coronary artery disease. In about   25% of the population, the first symptom of severe coronary   atherosclerosis is sudden death." He concludes: "There were no other   factors contributing to the death."
     
    Andy had a grandmother, 77,   and a grand-uncle, 51, both on his father's side, who died of congestive   heart failure.Looking back, Lyndie recalls that Andy complained of   chest pains and occasional intense heartburn for the first time last   year, and also recalls a holistic health practitioner, whom he sought   out in Australia for vitamin therapy,offhandedly mentioning he "had the   heart of a 50-year-old." In addition, Andy contracted Typhoid Fever five   years ago, which can result in damage to the heart muscle.But Andy   shrugged it all off and led no one to believe he was in ill health.
     
    The   official autopsy report, prepared by Tarrant County Chief Medical   Examiner Nizam Peerwani, MD, lists a second cause of death as "acute   mixed drug ingestion." On this point, Dr. Peerwani and Dr. Di Maio   diverge. In a letter sent to Arch McColl, a Dallas-based attorney acting   on behalf of the family, Dr. Di Maio questioned Dr. Peerwani's decision   to list the finding "Acute Mixed Drug Ingestion" under "Cause of Death"   because he believes "it was not the cause of death and did not   contribute to the death. The Manner of Death is in fact labeled   Natural."
    Dr. Di Maio goes on to say that the drugs cited, Alprazolam (Xanax)   and methadone (an analgesic drug commonly used in the treatment of   chronic pain), are in "therapeutic levels" and notes that   benzoylecgonine is an "inactive metabolite," which Gary H. Wimbish   Ph.D., DABFT, a forensic toxicologist consulted by the family, has   explained is a breakdown product of cocaine. Wimbish states that the   benzoylecgonine present in Andy's blood at 50 ng/ml "is consistent with   the use of cocaine at about 30 hours prior to his death." In addition,   Wimbish agrees with Dr. Di Maio that that the amount of Alprazolam   present in Andy's blood "is consistent with a common therapeutic   regimen."
     
    Dr. Peerwani's report also cites the presence of a   trace amount of methamphetamine. Lyndie insists Andy was not a   methamphetamine user, so it is likely the substance was present in the   cocaine he ingested. But again, Dr. Di Maio believes that none of these   drugs was the cause of, or contributed to, Andy's death.
     
    As we   are not doctors, we have no choice but to accept that two respected   pathologists have come to different conclusions about a secondary   contributing cause of death. However, the family would like to address   the findings of prescription and non-prescription drugs in Andy's   system. 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. Members of his family, close friends, and an   industry sponsor intervened over the years to help Andy get clean, but   the effort to find balance in his life was certainly complicated by his   chemical makeup.
     
    Finally,as has been reported, Andy was   suffering from severe flu-like symptoms while in Puerto Rico to compete   in the Rip Curl Pro Search leg of the ASP World Tour just days prior to   his death. Andy was unable to leave his bed and for the first time in   his Pro career, withdrew from a contest. He was put on an intravenous   drip for hydration and strongly advised to seek further medical   treatment. Against doctor's advice, Andy left for Kauai, Hawaii, to be   with his wife, telling the doctor: "I just wanna go home."
     
    Though   Andy's illness is not addressed in the autopsy (which only tested for   and ruled out suspected Dengue Fever), Andy's weakened condition clearly   contributed to the tragic circumstances of his death, adding more   stress to an already gravely compromised heart.
     
    Having defied   the odds so many times before, Andy may have felt that getting on a   plane while dehydrated and wracked with fever, and choosing to meet up   with acquaintances during a short layover in Miami, was nothing out of   the ordinary. His strong-willed personality was part of what made him   such a formidable surfer and champion. Like others who face down extreme   danger, Andy seemed to feel bulletproof - as if nothing could take him   down.But traveling while sick and suffering from an undiagnosed heart   condition, was more than even Andy could overcome.
     
    We are hoping   that people will remember Andy for his very full life, which included   his intense passion for surfing and the ocean, his astonishing   achievements as a world-class athlete, and his devotion to the family   and friends who love him dearly and miss him every day. Receiving the   disturbing news about the cause of death brings back the shock and   tremendous grief we first felt upon receiving word that Andy had passed.   
     
    We would like to thank everyone for their condolences and   support over the last seven months. There was so much positivity in   Andy's professional and personal life, not least of which was how hard   he worked to overcome his challenges. For this we remain forever proud   of him.
     
    This continues to be a very difficult time for our   family and we appreciate the media's respect for our privacy. We are   grateful for the outpouring of love and support and will not have any   immediate comment beyond this statement.
     
    For those who wish to   honor Andy's memory, we ask that they consider making a donation to the   Surfrider Foundation, a charity Andy supported, at surfrider.org.
     
    --The Irons Family
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    Offline SeaCliff

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #12 on: June 09, 2011, 12:48:18 PM »
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  • I understand the family wanting it to be natural causes (coronary artery blockage inducing a heart attack). And there are plenty of people out there who are going to look at that notion with a large amount of skepticism. But in the end, it doesn't matter, because sadly and finally, he's gone, regardless of the cause. What remains is a legacy of person with tremendous talent who found both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows this world has to offer. Those that knew him personally are staunchly defending of him - and for me, that's enough. RIP, ANDY, and I hope your family finds at least some small measure of peace, solace, and if it's ever even possible, closure going forward.
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    Offline NYLocal

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    Re: NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #13 on: June 09, 2011, 01:42:31 PM »
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  • I understand the family wanting it to be natural causes (coronary artery blockage inducing a heart attack).
    If he had a life insurance policy the payout would be based autopsy results. family has a better chance collecting if the death is ruled by natural causes as opposed to a self inflicted drug overdose.
    Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.

    Offline three_fins_out

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    NYT: Andy Irons autopsy results released
    « Reply #14 on: June 09, 2011, 02:20:37 PM »
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  • Scary and very sad. Rip Andy
    can you here me now...good