On Thursday, Bolling shared that he had “just received some tragic news from Coroner in Colorado” — that his son’s death had been ruled an accidental overdose “that included opioids.”
In a second tweet that included a photo of his son, Bolling wrote: “We must fight against this national epidemic, too many innocent victims.”
The official cause of death was mixed drug intoxication, including cocaine and fentanyl, according to the Boulder County Coroner.
The death was ruled an accident, the coroner’s office said.
Bolling’s news came on the same day that President Trump called the opioid epidemic the “worst drug crisis in American history” and said his administration was declaring a public health emergency.
“As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” Trump said in a speech in the White House East Room. “It is time to liberate our communities from the scourge of drug addiction. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”
He added, “If we can teach young people — and people, generally — not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take them.”
Despite Trump’s call to action, critics questioned the merits of Trump’s speech given that it did not include an immediate request to Congress for emergency funding.
“America is hemorrhaging lives by the day because of the opioid epidemic, but President Trump offered the country a Band-Aid when we need a tourniquet,” said Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). “Today’s announcement is nothing more than a dog-and-pony show in an attempt to demonstrate the Trump administration is not ignoring this crisis.”
Boulder Police Sgt. Nick Smetzer said that on the evening of Sept. 8, police found Eric Chase Bolling after officers responded to a call for an “unintended death.” The 19-year-old was listed on his Facebook page as having studied economics at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The death came hours after Fox News announced the network had decided to part ways with Bolling.
In August he was suspended after a report that he sent lewd texts to female co-workers at the network. Bolling had been a co-host of the weekday program “The Specialists” and a former co-host of “The Five.” Bolling was also among a wave of Fox employees accused of inappropriate sexual behavior after Fox broke its relationship with Roger Ailes, the network’s longtime chairman.
The HuffPost reported that three current and former female colleagues accused Bolling of sending them the messages. Fox News then launched an investigation and suspended Bolling, until officially severing ties with him on Sept. 8.
Earlier this week, Bolling had sparred with Bill O’Reilly — another Fox News host at the focus of sexual harassment allegations — over O’Reilly’s reference to Eric Chad Bolling in an interview with the New York Times.
During the interview, O’Reilly had urged Times journalists to consider the consequences their reporting on him could have on his family.
“I urge you to think about what you put in your newspaper,” O’Reilly said. “Eric Bolling’s son is dead. He’s dead because of allegations made — in my opinion and I know this to be true — against Mr. Bolling.”
Bolling quickly responded, saying: “I believe it is beyond inappropriate for anyone to bring in the tragic death of my son Eric Chase Bolling. Just as Bill O’Reilly had wanted to shield his children from the allegations against him, I hope he will honor my request and avoid any future mentions of my son.
“My parting from Fox News was in no way connected to the tragic news of my son’s passing,” he continued. “The coroner has in fact indicated to us that they believe it was an accident.”
In a tweet, O’Reilly apologized to Bolling, saying “the message I tried to send was that allegations harm kids. Nothing more.”
“Thanks Bill,” Bolling responded. “Apology accepted.”
Danielle Paquette and Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.