Country singer Luke Bell, who was found dead in late August, died of an accidental fentanyl overdose, according to Bell’s autopsy.
According to the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office, in a report obtained by USA TODAY, Bell’s cause of death was from fentanyl intoxication, while the manner of death was ruled accidental. The autopsy also stated that Bell suffered arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease at the time of his death but it is not what caused his death.
Fentanyl, a prescription opioid typically used as an anesthetic, can be 80 to 200 times as potent as morphine, read Bell’s toxicology report, obtained by USA TODAY. The drug is often sold as heroin and “commonly found in combination with other illicit drugs.”
Bell was found dead in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 26, the Tucson Police Department confirmed to USA TODAY in a statement Aug. 30. The 32-year-old singer, known for songs “Where Ya Been?” and “The Bullfighter,” was officially identified on Aug. 29.
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Artist Matt Kinman, a close friend of Bell, confirmed the musician’s death to Saving Country Music, which was the first to report the news. According to the outlet, Bell allegedly went missing on Aug. 20 in Tucson.
The medical examiner’s report states Bell was “reportedly found unresponsive by a passerby in a shaded area of a parking structure.” Drug paraphernalia was also discovered at the scene, according to the report.
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, on Jan. 27, 1990, Bell got his start in the music industry while playing at a local bar during his college years, according to Saving Country Music. He was raised in Cody, Wyoming, and his music led him to spend some time in Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana.
In Nashville, Tennessee, he recorded his 2014 album “Don’t Mind If I Do,” which he released on Bandcamp. In 2016, he released a self-titled album. In 2021, Bell released his latest song “Jealous Guy.”
“Luke had a gentle heart, a wanderer’s spirit and a musical gift that he was fortunate to share with us and the world,” Bell’s family previously said in a statement to USA TODAY, provided by publicist Nicole Miller, who is representing Bell’s family. “We are so grateful to his friends and fans for embracing Luke and his music.”
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Bell’s family also said at the time that the singer suffered from mental illness, which progressed after his father died in 2015.
“Luke was supported through his disease by a community of loving family and friends. Despite this, he was unable to receive the help he needed to ease his pain,” the family said. “Our hearts go out to the millions of people affected by mental illness who, like us, understand the devastating disappointment of a system that consistently fails to provide caring solutions to those who suffer.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which provides confidential 24/7 support by dialing 9-8-8.
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Contributing: Pamela Avila and Amy Haneline, USA TODAY