Former NHL Player Jimmy Hayes Cause of Death Revealed as Acute Intoxication Due to Fentanyl and Cocaine

Almost two months after former NHL player Jimmy Hayes, 31, was discovered dead in his home on August 23, the official cause of death was released on Sunday. The toxicology results were not released until after the funeral. The Boston Globe reported that “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine” was the cause of death.

Hayes’ widow Kristen Hayes said:

“I was completely shocked. I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs. I thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn’t that [drugs]. … It didn’t make any sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different phone call when they called. I was hoping to get some clarity, and I was shocked to hear that it was that. … He never showed any signs of a struggle at home.”

Jimmy Hayes’ Cause of Death

Kevin, Jimmy’s dad, talked about his own battles with drug abuse.

“I’m an addict myself. I’ve been sober a long, long time, but I know how powerful this stuff is. I was in shock when it happened, but then I started putting stuff together in my head . . . I know what addiction does. I know about addiction,” he said.

He started noticing something different with his son that caught his attention.

“About maybe 16 or 17 months ago, I saw a little change in Jimmy’s behavior, and I went to him and said, ‘I think there might be a problem here with pills.’ He had had an injury for a while, and I think he started taking the painkillers, and they get you,” Kevin said.

jimmy hayes cause of death
jimmy hayes cause of death

The 66-year-old dad made it a point to reach out to his child and reassure him of his support.

“I said, ‘Jim, I think I see a problem here.’ And he’s 31 years old, so I can’t tell him to get help. So I said, ‘When you want help, I’ll be here for you, pal. Let me know,’ Kevin said.

“He called me three weeks later and said, ‘Dad, I’m hooked on these pills. I got injured, started taking them, and never got off.’ And I said, ‘Well, let’s get some help.’ He went to a place up in Haverhill. So he gets help, and everything is on the path to recovery. But this [expletive] is so powerful.”

Jimmy’s family hopes that they can help someone else who is going through tough times by sharing Jimmy’s story.

“I hope getting Jimmy’s story out there can save someone’s life if this can save someone from pain, great. It’s just so sad. I pride myself on being pretty mentally strong. I’m a street guy. But there’s just no formula for this,” Kevin said.

Jimmy Hayes played in the National Hockey League for seven seasons, ending his career with the Devils after the 2017–18 season.

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