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Autopsy reveals Hanson's cause of death

ATLANTA -- Former Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson's death was caused by delayed complications of cocaine and alcohol toxicity, according to a portion of the autopsy report that was released on Friday.

Coweta County coroner Dr. Richard Hawk ruled the death an accident and the cause to be illicit cocaine use. A full autopsy report will be revealed at a later date.

Hanson was at a friend's house in suburban Atlanta when he was found unresponsive during the morning of Nov. 8. The 29-year-old was rushed to a nearby hospital and then was pronounced dead the following night, with some of his former Braves teammates at his bedside.

Hanson established himself as baseball's top pitching prospect after he dominated as the 2008 MVP of the Arizona Fall League. He made his much-anticipated Major League debut the following June and ended his first month at the big league level by winning four consecutive starts, including two straight against the Yankees and Red Sox at Turner Field.

After producing a 3.28 ERA over the 77 starts made during his first three Major League seasons, Hanson was hampered by a shoulder and back ailment that altered his career, and he also struggled to cope with the loss of his younger brother, who passed away in 2013 while Hanson was with the Angels.

"I was having mental issues with the death of my younger brother," Hanson told reporters at the time. "I was just trying to get through it. I didn't know how to handle it.

"That was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me. I didn't know how to cope with it."

Hanson ended up leaving the club for three weeks to grieve. He made 15 appearances for the Angels that year but had not pitched in the Majors since.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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