A drug overdose killed former National League most valuable player Ken Caminiti, who admitted using steroids during his playing days and tested positive for cocaine in the days before he died.
Coronary artery disease and an enlarged heart were listed as contributing factors in the death of Caminiti, Grace Brugess, spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner, said yesterday. She said the death had been ruled an accident.
The 15-year major league veteran, who won the NL MVP award in 1996, admitted in a Houston court just days before he died that he had tested positive for cocaine. Caminiti, 41, died Oct. 10 in the Bronx.
Tissue and toxicology tests confirmed Caminiti's cause of death as "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of cocaine and opiates," Brugess said. She said those drugs had weakened his heart.
Opiates are drugs that tend to have a sedative effect on the body -- as opposed to cocaine, which is marked by rapid heart race and other accelerated effects.
In 2002, Caminiti told Sports Illustrated that he used steroids during his 1996 MVP season, when he hit .326 with 40 home runs and 130 RBI. He estimated about half of major league players also were using them at the time.
Early in his career, he admitted to abusing alcohol and painkillers. On Oct. 5, Caminiti admitted to a judge that he had violated his probation by testing positive for cocaine in September. It was his fourth failed drug test since he was put on three years' probation for cocaine possession in March 2002.
He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, but was quickly freed because he received credit for time served in jail or for treatment.
-- From News Services