A Florida medical examiner said Monday that an autopsy of television pitchman Billy Mays showed that he suffered no head trauma and that his death appears to be the result of a heart attack during his sleep.
Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Vernard Adams said more tests are needed but Mays had hypertensive heart disease, and “the heart disease is perfectly consistent with sudden death.”
After a difficult landing Saturday aboard a US Airways flight at Tampa International Airport, Mays joked to a TV station that he had been hit on the head but said he had a hard head. US Airways said no passengers reported serious injuries.
Alfred Bove, president of the American College of Cardiology, said the stress of the landing could have been a factor in Mays’ death, but it would be difficult to prove: “Very high adrenaline levels could have caused an arrhythmia to start or released some plaque into his system.”
The boisterous Mays, 50, known for pitching OxiClean and other products, was found dead Sunday by his wife. An official cause of death will be issued after toxicology and other tests are completed. He took prescription painkillers for hip pain, but there was no indication of drug abuse, Adams said. Mays was to have hip-replacement surgery Monday.