The autopsy report for surfing superstar Andy Irons says the 32-year-old died from a heart attack caused by hardening of the arteries, with a secondary cause being acute mixed drug ingestion--in Irons' case, methamphetamine and cocaine.
Irons was found dead in a Dallas hotel room on Nov. 2. He won the world surfing championship in 2002, 2003, and 2004.
His family disputed the findings and released a statement that read:
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.