Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died of a drug overdose in his hotel room on July 1, 2019

By Steve Helling
August 07, 2020 04:26 PM
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Tyler Skaggs
| Credit: Ric Tapia/Getty Images

A former employee for the Los Angeles Angels faces a federal drug charge more than a year after the 2019 overdose death of major league pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Eric Kay, 45, is charged with conspiracy to distribute a mixture containing detectable amounts of fentanyl, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Dallas.

Skaggs, 27, was found dead in a Texas hotel room on July 1, 2019, just before the Angels were to play the Texas Rangers. He was fully clothed on his bed. There were no signs of trauma.

The Tarrant County medical examiner performed an autopsy on Skaggs and found opioids in his system. He had choked on his vomit. His cause of death was determined to be a mixture of “alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents,” according to a toxicology report and autopsy from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner obtained by PEOPLE.

Credit: FOX Sports West

The athlete had a blood-alcohol level of 0.122 (above the legal limit of 0.08), 3.8 nanograms per milliliter of fentanyl and 38 nanograms of oxycodone, a prescription-strength pain killer, in his system when he died. The use of oxycodone is prohibited by Major League Baseball.

In a criminal complaint obtained by the Los Angeles Times, authorites wrote, "It was later determined that but for the fentanyl in [Skaggs’] system, he would not have died."

Kay worked in the Angels’ media relations department for 24 years. He resigned after Skaggs' death. He has not yet entered a plea to the charge against him, and his attorney did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

In a statement on Twitter, the Los Angeles Angels called Skaggs' death a "tragedy that has impacted countless individuals and families."

"The Angels Organization has fully cooperated with Law Enforcement and Major League Baseball," the statement reads. "Additionally ... we hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation."

“We learned that there was unacceptable behavior inconsistent with our code of conduct, and we took steps to address it," the statement continues. "Our investigation also confirmed that no one in management was aware, or informed, of any employee providing opioids to any player, nor that Tyler was using opioids. As we try to heal from the loss of Tyler, we continue to work with authorities as they complete their investigation.”