NHL Player Jimmy Hayes' Widow Says She's "Shocked" After Cause of Death Revealed

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Jimmy Hayes' loved ones are finally getting closure after his stunning death. 

The NHL player, who passed away on Aug. 23 at the age of 31, died of "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine," the Massachusetts state medical examiner confirmed to E! News on Sunday, Oct. 17. The death was ruled to be accidental. 

Jimmy's widow, Kristen Hayes, told the Boston Globe in a story published on Oct. 17 that she was "completely shocked" by the official cause of death. Kristen is raising the couple's two sons, Beau, 2, and Mac, 5 months. 

"I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs," she said. "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.''

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Jimmy's dad, Kevin Hayes, told the outlet that he himself is a recovered addict and had approached his son last year about concerns that Jimmy may have been struggling with addiction as well. 

"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,'" Kevin recalled. "He had had an injury for a while, and I think he started taking the painkillers, and they get you."

Jimmy Hayes, Kristen Hayes
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He continued, "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."

E! News has reached out to Kristen for comment.

The Globe had previously reported that law enforcement and first responders arrived the former Boston Bruins player's home in Milton, Mass. during the morning of Aug. 23, where Jimmy was pronounced dead. An autopsy conducted later that month did not conclusively establish how the athlete died. 

On Sept. 23, Kristen marked one month since his passing by sharing a carousel of family pics. In the caption, she said the time since his death was "the hardest, worst month of my life" but added she felt "in awe of how strong myself, the boys and our families have been."