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LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg's death ruled a suicide

August 24, 2010 |  2:05 pm

Blasberg_250 LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg's death nearly four months ago has been ruled a suicide.

The Southern California native died of asphyxia coupled with the presence of toxic levels of prescription medication -- including prescription headache, cough, pain and anti-anxiety medications -- in her system, the coroner's office of Clark County, Nev., said Tuesday.

“While asphyxia was the primary cause of death, the presence of prescription drugs in Ms. Blasberg's system was a significant factor,” Coroner Michael Murphy said.

According to the coroner, the drugs in Blasberg's system included butalbital, temazepam, alprazolam, codeine, hydrocodone and tramadol.  The amount of medication present is not permitted to be released, according to Nevada law.

Also on Tuesday, the Henderson Police Department announced it had ruled out foul play in Blasberg's death, but an arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for Dr. Thomas Hess on misdemeanor obstruction of justice charges.

Hess is accused of removing items from the death scene at Blasberg's home in Henderson, Nev., before police arrived. Police have said Hess called 911 from Blasberg's home on the day of her death in May but was not present when they arrived.

Police said Hess admitted to altering the scene -- hiding an apparent suicide note and prescription medications in his vehicle -- and stopped cooperating with detectives.

Blasberg, 25, was in her sixth season on the LPGA Tour. She went to high school in Corona and was a two-time All-American at the University of Arizona, where she was named NCAA freshman of the year and Pac-10 player of the year in 2003.

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Photo: Erica Blasberg in Feb. 2008. Credit: Ronen Zilberman / Associated Press.

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