Former Colorado Avalanche winger Marek Svatos died of combined drug overdose

DENVER -- Reports from the Douglas County Coroner say a former Colorado Avalanche player who died on Nov. 4 succumbed to a combined drug overdose. 

Marek Svatos, a former winger, died in his Lone Tree home, his wife reported to police. According to Jill Romann, the coroner, Svatos suffered from a host of issues -- the foremost being drug use.

Examination found Svatos had used heroin in the past, with the scars on his arm to prove it. His examination showed combined intoxication, with evidence of heroin and alprazolam in his blood. 

Svatos' family reported his body had been located next to drug paraphernalia, explaining to police he had a reported history of illicit drug use, alcohol use, tobacco smoking, suspected depression, suicidal thoughts among other recent issues in his life.

The former seventh-round draft pick had been embroiled in a child abuse case that ended in a guilty plea in September. Svatos received a sentence that may have included jail time, probation and community service as punishment.

Other than the drugs in his system, the coroner said his body appeared to be in mostly good health, with no significant damage to his heart, lungs, liver or kidneys. 

After Svatos' death, Joe Sakic, the executive vice president and general manager, issued a statement from the Avalanche organization. 

“The entire Avalanche organization is extremely saddened by this news,” Sakic said. “Marek was a tremendous person, a talented hockey player and a great teammate. Our thoughts, prayers and our deepest sympathy to his wife, children and his entire family.”
 
Svatos scored 96 goals in 316 games for the Avalanche from 2004 through 2010. He briefly played for Nashville and Ottawa in his final NHL season. 

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