Although the autopsy found signs of heart disease – and a heart attack remains the official cause of death – the coroner says cocaine can raise blood pressure, causing a thickening of the heart's wall and clogging the arteries.
"From the presence of metabolites of cocaine and the absence of cocaine itself, it was concluded that Mr. Mays used cocaine in the few days prior to his death but not immediately prior to death," says a statement from the Hillsborough County, Fla., medical examiner.
Family's Angry ReactionMays's family harshly criticized the coroner, calling the results "speculative conclusions" that are both "frankly unnecessary" and "obscure the conclusion that Billy suffered from chronic, untreated hypertension."
"Given the hectic nature and pace of Billy's life, especially during the past 10 months of his exhaustive travel across the country, it was not surprising to hear that hypertension was the cause of his death," the family said in a statement. "We were totally unaware of any non-prescription drug usage and are actively considering an independent evaluation of the autopsy results."
The family said he had been taking prescription medication for chronic pain for the last two years due to a hip condition and that he was about to undergo his third hip surgery in the last 18 months.
"This has been a very difficult period for our family and we appreciate the respect for our privacy that Billy's many clients, fans and members of the media have extended," the family said. "We appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers for the family and will not have any immediate comment beyond this statement."
The bearded man with the booming voice best known for his ubiquitous OxiClean ads was pronounced dead June 28 he was found in his bed by wife Deborah Mays. Early speculation focused on a bump to his head during a rough landing of a flight the day before into Tampa. But the coroner had found no sign of head trauma.
Reporting by RENNIE DYBALL