Autopsy: Roy Halladay had morphine in his body during deadly plane crash

Big League Stew
Roy Halladay’s autopsy revealed that he had morphine and two other drugs in his system. (AP)
Roy Halladay’s autopsy revealed that he had morphine and two other drugs in his system. (AP)

The autopsy for ex-MLB star Roy Halladay, who died in a November airplane crash, revealed that he had morphine, amphetamines and zolpidem in his system, according to a report from TMZ Sports. Zolpidem is the generic name for Ambien, used to treat insomnia. The Tampa Bay Times confirmed the report.

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Halladay’s autopsy report, released Friday, lists his cause of death as blunt trauma and drowning, which aren’t surprising after his solo plane crash off the Gulf of Mexico near his home in Florida. The three drugs showed up in his toxicology reports, though as TMZ notes these are also common prescription medications. His blood-alcohol content level was 0.01.

The toxicology results show Halladay had zolpidem (the generic name for Ambien), as well as morphine in his system at the time of the crash. The tests also came back positive for amphetamines. One source familiar with the autopsy tells us he results are consistent with someone who uses Rx medication.

One thing of note … the FDA lists on its website that more than 50 ng/ml of zolpidem “appears capable of impairing driving to a degree that increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident.” Halladay’s blood tested positive for 72 ng/ml.

Whether Halladay had prescriptions for these drugs is something we don’t know. Morphine is commonly associated with heroin, but TMZ reports there’s no indication Halladay was “using heroin or any other clandestine drug.” Morphine is found in various other pain-killing medications, both for short-term pain or chronic injuries. When he retired in 2013, Halladay cited back and shoulder injuries as the season.

Halladay, 40, pitched 16 years in the big leagues. The NTSB investigation into Halladay’s death did not identify the cause of the crash.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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