With the hope that his death can help save lives, the family of Jimmy Hayes told the Boston Globe Sunday that fentanyl and cocaine contributed to his death.
The former Boston Bruins winger and Dorchester, MA native was found unresponsive and ruled dead in his Milton, MA home on August 23rd. This past Friday, his family sadly found out that fentanyl and cocaine contributed to the death of Jimmy Hayes, 31, and his wife Kristen and father Kevin Sr. revealed the tragic news to the Globe.
“I don’t want him to be stigmatized like as a [expletive] junkie,’’ Hayes’ 66-year-old father, who battled addiction himself, told the Boston Globe Sunday. “You know what I mean? Because he wasn’t. Jimmy helped everyone. Some of the stories I’ve been hearing. He never said no. [Former Bruin] Torey Krug told me they used to go to Children’s Hospital. Jimmy’d fall in love with a kid, then go back a week later. And a week later. He was just a wonderful kid, but this addiction [expletive] is just so powerful. If I had a formula that could tell people.
“I hope getting Jimmy’s story out there can save someone’s life. If this can save someone from the pain, great. It’s just so sad. I pride myself on being pretty mentally strong. I’m a street guy. But there’s just no formula for this.
“You have a beautiful, All-American boy who made a terrible mistake and it cost him his life.’’
Kristen Hayes told the Globe she was shocked to hear that was why her husband, Jimmy Hayes, seemingly healthy as could be, died so suddenly.
“I was completely shocked,’’ said Kristen. “I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn’t that [drugs] . . . It didn’t make any sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different phone call when they called. I was hoping to get some clarity and I was shocked to hear that it was that . . . He never showed any signs of a struggle at home.’’
While Kristen and many close to Jimmy Hayes knew he battled an addiction to painkillers from his days battling numerous injuries during his NHL career, they all seemed to think he was past it. Not his Dad though, who knows all too well how hard it can be to battle addiction.
“I’m an addict myself,’’ said the 66-year-old father of five. “I’m sober a long, long time, but I know how powerful this stuff is. I was in shock when it happened, but then I started putting stuff together in my head . . . I know what addiction does. I know about addiction.
“About maybe 16 or 17 months ago, I saw a little change in Jimmy’s behavior and I went to him and I said, ‘I think there might be a problem here with pills.’ He had had an injury for a while and I think he started taking the painkillers and they get you.
“I said, ‘Jim, I think I see a problem here.’ And he’s 31 years old so I can’t tell him to go get help. So I said, ‘When you want help, I’ll be here for you, pal. Let me know.’
“He called me three weeks later and said, ‘Dad, I’m hooked on these pills. I got injured and I started taking them and I never got off.’ And I said, ‘Well, let’s get you some help.’ He went to a place up in Haverhill. So he gets help and everything was on the path to recovery, I thought. But this [expletive] is so powerful.’’
While the power of addiction tragically ended Hayes’ life, his wife will remember the power of his love of those around him.
“He would never want to see me, and the boys, and our family hurting the way we are,’’ she wrote to the Globe. “I know he would give anything to still be here with us today. I am heartbroken and devastated but I will choose to remember my husband and the boys’ dad by all the joy and love he brought us, and I hope everyone else does, too.’’