Autopsy shows deadly drug mix

The initial report says prescription medicine killed an ex-wrestler.

By ABBIE VANSICKLE, Times Staff Writer
Published September 29, 2007

TAMPA - Former professional wrestler Brian "Crush" Adams died of accidental abuse of prescription drugs, a deadly mixture of a pain reliever, muscle relaxer and anxiety medication, according to a preliminary autopsy report.

Adams, 44, was found unresponsive Aug. 13 by his 8-year-old son in the family's New Tampa home, according to the autopsy report released Friday by the Hillsborough Medical Examiner's Office.

Adams' wife, Irene Adams, a registered nurse, called 911 and told investigators her husband was cold and stiff to the touch.

Adams was pronounced dead at the home.

In a trash can in a bathroom adjoining his bedroom, investigators found several empty prescription drug bottles without labels, and a syringe.

Irene Adams, who declined an interview Friday, told investigators her husband had a history of prescription drug abuse and had recently tried to stop.

Adams also had a prior back injury, possible sleep apnea and a history of steroid use, according to the report.

No anabolic steroids were found in his body when he died, records show.

The complete report is expected to be released within two weeks, said medical examiner spokesman Dick Bailey.

Born in Hawaii, Adams was in the Air Force when a wrestling promoter suggested he switch careers.

He went on to wrestle in Japan.

In 1990, he signed with World Wrestling Entertainment, performing for the next decade with other famous wrestlers.

He retired in 2001 and began a boxing career, but in 2003 he suffered a spinal injury and left the sport.

Information from Times files was used in this report. News researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 226-3373 or vansickle@sptimes.com.