Autopsy Report: Former US Olympian committed suicide

October 14, 2010 04:52

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Former Olympic  sprinter Antonio Pettigrew, who admitted to doping and was stripped of a gold medal, committed suicide by overdosing on a drug common to sleeping pills, according to an autopsy report released Wednesday.

Pettigrew, 42, was found dead in the backseat of his locked car in August.

An autopsy report released by the state medical examiner's office said the cause of death was diphenhydramine toxicity. Another report rules the case a suicide and the likely toxic agent as the sleep aid Unisom, which the National Institutes of Health says contains diphenhydramine.

Police and friends began searching Pettigrew's route home from work as an assistant track coach at the University of North Carolina.

"A bottle that had held 30 Unisom was in the vehicle — a pill was loose in the vehicle," an investigative report by medical examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch said.

The report describing circumstances surrounding the death said a preliminary investigation did not show Pettigrew facing financial problems, but that he was facing stress on the job.

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