Minneapolis The death of Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard was an accident, due to a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkiller oxycodone.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner announced Boogaard’s cause of death Friday, saying it was unclear exactly when the 28-year-old died. Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment last Friday, five months after he sustained a season-ending concussion with the New York Rangers.
The medical examiner said no private data on Boogaard would be released, but a statement his family issued through the National Hockey League Players’ Association indicated the 6-foot-7 Boogaard had been struggling with pain and addiction.
“After repeated courageous attempts at rehabilitation and with the full support of the New York Rangers, the NHLPA and the NHL, Derek had been showing tremendous improvement but was ultimately unable to beat this opponent,” the family said. “While he played and lived with pain for many years, his passion for the game, his teammates, and his community work was unstoppable.”
Experts say mixing alcohol and medicines can cause dangerous reactions. Drinking alcohol while taking strong painkillers like oxycodone can result in breathing problems and increase the risk of an overdose, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Boogaard was the older brother of Kansas University women’s basketball senior Krysten Boogaard.