The sudden death of pioneering hacker Barnaby Jack at the age of 36 on July 25, just a week before he was scheduled to give a highly anticipated speech revealing the vulnerabilities of heart implants to hacking, stunned the hacking community and generated an outpouring of support from his admirers around the world.
Jack's family, colleagues and friends received some level of closure over the weekend when the San Francisco medical examiner's office released the full report on Jack's death, which detailed the findings of the death investigation, autopsy and toxicology tests.
The world-renowned hacker had earned a reputation for leading a wild life of drinking and late nights, and the report -- which can be read in full below -- finds that his hard-living ways eventually led to his early passing, as his death was ruled to be an accidental overdose on a dangerous cocktail of drugs.
"The cause of death was determined to be acute mixed drug (heroin, cocaine, diphenhydramine, alprazolam) intoxication," the report reads, going on to stipulate that it was ruled to be an accidental overdose.
The report reveals that Jack was "found unresponsive in bed by his girlfriend" on the evening of July 25, just a couple of hours after a 2:30 p.m. phone conversation between the two about dinner plans, which she described as being normal. Jack's girlfriend returned home from work about five hours later and called 911 upon finding his body, and at 7:50 p.m. responding paramedics declared him dead on the scene.
What exactly drove Jack to consume a fatal amount of various legal and illegal drugs over the course of the intervening hours will likely never be known, but some details about the circumstances of his passing were included in the report. He died on the floor of the San Francisco apartment he shared with his girlfriend, surrounded by "evidence of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use" including "multiple rolled up papers with white powder residue in them and multiple bottles of beer and champagne in the garbage can," according to the medical examiner/investigator's report. It all jived with comments made by Jack's girlfriend and a friend who spoke with investigators shortly after his passing, in which they confirmed that Jack "would take opiates and would use Xanax" and "would drink and occasionally use cocaine."
Jack's death generated speculation and conspiracy theories hypothesizing that Jack had been had been silenced by the government or an outside actor for his knowledge of sensitive information about topics including how to hack into pacemakers and have them deliver fatal electrical shocks to their owners. The autopsy report should dispel these lines of thinking, as it revealed that there was "no visible or palpable evidence of trauma" to his head or to most of his other external or internal body parts. The only injuries on his body were two small abrasions investigators noticed on each of his cheeks and one near his right groin, as well as two small contusions on his right hand, none of which led the coroner to rule that there was evidence of foul play. And a number of people close to Jack told International Business Times in August that they did not believe that he had been murdered.
Jack was scheduled to give an important speech on pacemaker hacking at the annual Black Hat hackers conference in Las Vegas a week after he was found dead. Instead, he was honored there with a posthumous lifetime achievement award and friends and associates of his held remembrance events for their fallen colleague.