James' Death Drug Related

Funk legend's autopsy reveals traces of nine drugs

September 17, 2004 12:00 AM ET
Toxicology tests revealed traces of drugs in funk legend Rick James' system.

The fifty-six-year-old artist's August 6th death by heart attack was initially attributed to "natural causes" by the family, but the Los Angeles County coroner has concluded that a combination of nine drugs likely contributed to James' death. The substances discovered include cocaine, methamphetamine, painkiller Vicodin, and anti-depressants Xanax and Wellbutrin.

James, the funk artist best known for his 1981 hit "Super Freak," had struggled with a crack addiction for years, leading to two years in a California prison for assault in 1993. Before his death, James had claimed to have been sober since his release.

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