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Big Billy Mays' big heart gave out, coroner finds

June 29, 2009 |  3:22 pm

Qwik update:

Sort of dueling autopsies on opposite sides of the country today: One case in LA possibly involving OxyContin and that famous singer what's-his-name, who died at 50 last week, and the other in Tampa involving OxiClean spokesman Billy Mays, who also died at 50. Hmmm.TV pitchman par excellence Billy Mays

We had our tribute to big Billy Sunday (click here to see the hilarious video of Billy having so much fun at his own expense), wishing he'd been in politics or his style of pitching had been in politics.

And we affectionately celebrated his big presence and big voice and big heart. Turns out today's autopsy results indicate it was that big heart that gave out.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner reports the exuberant TV pitchman died quietly in his sleep from hypertensive heart disease -- the left ventricle was enlarged, a key symptom.

The M.E. also said there was no evidence of head trauma. So the heart rate of U.S. Airways lawyers' is slowing down now. During a rough landing Saturday, something fell out of an overhead bin and hit Mays on the head, raising speculation of one of those silent brain injuries without symptoms that claimed Natasha Richardson after a skiing accident left her feeling fine for several hours.

The stocky Mays was taking painkillers for a bad hip, but the M.E. found the dosage was appropriate.

Check out the video here of the American insomniac's best friend.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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