An autopsy report released today reveals Slipknot bassist Paul Gray’s death was caused by an accidental overdose of morphine and fentanyl, a narcotic analgesic that is 100 times more potent than morphine. According to the Polk County, Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office, the toxicology report and final autopsy showed that Gray also had “significant heart disease” at the time of his death on May 25th at age 38.
As Rolling Stone previously reported, Gray’s body was found in an Urbandale, Iowa hotel when an employee checked on him after his family had said he had not contacted them for a number of days. While an initial autopsy on May 25th was inconclusive, police immediately ruled out foul play or trauma. Gray had struggled with drugs in the past, including a 2003 arrest in Slipknot’s native Iowa for possession of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia following a car accident. But it appeared that he had overcome his demons: Two years ago, he married his girlfriend Brenna Paul, who is currently pregnant with the couple’s first child.
At a press conference held the day following Gray’s death, the remaining members of Slipknot gathered to remember Gray, who co-founded the influential thrash-metal group with drummer Joey Jordison and percussionist Shawn Crahan in 1995. “It’s very important that everybody on the outside of us understands that Paul Gray was the essence of the band Slipknot and Paul was there from the very beginning,” Crahan said. “None of us would be on the path that we’re on right now in life, or have the sorts of lives that we have without him. He really was the essence of Slipknot and we’d like for him to be remembered that way. He’s going to be sadly missed and the world is going to be a different place without him.”