Hatfield Had Cocaine in System

Righteous Brother's heart attack triggered by drugs

January 6, 2004 12:00 AM ET

Bobby Hatfield's death was triggered by acute cocaine intoxication, according to the chief medical examiner for Kalamazoo County, Michigan, where the singer died in a hotel room on November 5th.

Hatfield, 63, was found dead just hours prior to a scheduled performance with Bill Medley, with whom he recorded and performed for more than four decades as the Righteous Brothers. An initial examination of Hatfield's body listed a heart attack, caused by advanced coronary disease, as the cause of death. But according to Dr. Richard Tooker, the official cause of death couldn't be determined until the results of the toxicology report were received. Tooker received the report on December 24th, but initially withheld the information out of respect for Hatfield's family during the holidays. Tooker spoke this week with the Kalamazoo Gazette and revealed his findings.

Medley, with whom Hatfield recorded eleven Top Forty singles (including two Number Ones), told the press that the results of the report "were a shock to me," and claimed that he had never known Hatfield to have any problems with drug abuse.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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