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Death Threats Forced LA Newspaper to Pull Story Speculating Tyler Skaggs Died of Opioid Overdose

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Pitcher Tyler Skaggs #45 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim walks to the dugout after being taken out of the game during the fifth inning of the MLB game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 29, 2017 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

The baseball world is still reeling from the sudden, shocking death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Just two days after taking the mound, he was found dead last Monday in his hotel room at the age of 27.

Since the terrible news first broke, we've witnessed rampant speculation about what could have possibly caused this tragic passing. And one newspaper in Santa Monica, Calif. -- Skaggs' hometown -- speculated in an opinion piece that the pitcher could have fallen victim to a possibly accidental opioid overdose.

Amid strong rebuttals from the Angels and by relevant law enforcement, as well as an alleged volley of death threats sent the paper's way, the Santa Monica Observer scrubbed the piece of all references to the opioid speculation.

Skaggs' autopsy has been performed, but no cause of death has been publicized and results of the procedure aren't expected to be available until early October.

"[It's] categorically incorrect. The cause of death is still under investigation. This sort of reckless reporting from Tyler’s hometown paper is disappointing and harmful," an Angels spokeswoman said, per Deadline Hollywood, of the Observer's suggestion that painkillers could have played a role in Skaggs' passing.

Skaggs' family is surely searching for answers. So are the Angels. So are we -- the public still so utterly puzzled and disturbed by the death of a 27-year-old. But it was wrong of the Santa Monica Observer to commence speculation about the kid's cause of death so soon after his passing, to say nothing of the fact that they did so with no evidence.

Perhaps the inevitable autopsy results and accompanying toxicology report really will present new revelations about Skaggs' demise. But we cannot know for sure, and it would be flatly irresponsible and morally insensitive to do otherwise. Full stop.