Drugs killed pitcher?: Tommy Hanson Autopsy

Published: December 12, 2015

Drugs killed pitcher?: Tommy Hanson Autopsy, Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson died from delayed complications of cocaine and alcohol toxicity, according to autopsy results released Friday morning.

Hanson, 29, was at a friend’s Newnan-area home on Nov. 8 when he was found unresponsive in bed. That friend’s girlfriend, Clare Jordan, called 911 to report Hanson’s face was discolored and his hands were cold, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. Jordan began chest compressions on the 6-foot-6 Hanson until Coweta County paramedics arrived.

Hanson was first taken to Piedmont Newnan Hospital and then Piedmont Hospital’s main campus in Atlanta, where he died the following night. The GBI completed the autopsy on Hanson, but toxicology testing took an additional four weeks to complete.

Former Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson died Nov. 9, 2015, at Piedmont Hospital. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
The death was ruled accidental, Coweta Coroner Richard Hawk said Friday.

A preliminary report released by the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office listed “overdose” as the possible crime, but said there was no indication or suspicion of foul play.

Hanson was spending the weekend with friend, Brandon Bond, when he was found unresponsive. During the 911 call, Jordan told the operator she knew Hanson had been drinking alcohol the night before, but that he appeared fine earlier that morning when she went downstairs, where he had been sleeping.

Jordan told the operator she had let Hanson’s dogs outside earlier that morning, The AJC reported. When one of the dogs started barking again, Jordan went back downstairs.

“I just came down here again because one of his dogs was barking and I wanted to make sure everything was OK,” Jordan told the operator. “And he just didn’t look right.”

Once a top prospect, Hanson was traded by the Braves in December 2012 and last pitched in the majors in 2013 with the Los Angeles Angels. He had a 49-35 record and 3.80 ERA in 123 games (121 starts) over five major league seasons, including four with the Braves, before shoulder problems and a concussion stalled his career.

Many former and current Braves players, including Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann and Kris Medlen, attended Hanson’s funeral, along with former Braves manager Bobby Cox and current manager Fredi Gonzalez.

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