Police: Late baseball pitcher Tommy Hanson died of apparent overdose

Published 2:02 PM EST, Thu November 12, 2015
At 6-foot-6, Tommy Hanson earned the nickname "Big Red" among his fellow Braves.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
At 6-foot-6, Tommy Hanson earned the nickname "Big Red" among his fellow Braves.

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Tommy Hanson went to a hospital Sunday; his former team said he'd died two days later

Authorities say emergency room staff raised the possibility of an overdose

(CNN) —  

Former baseball pitcher Tommy Hanson, one of the sport’s top prospects in 2006, died following an apparent overdose, Georgia authorities told CNN on Thursday.

An incident report from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office stated that the 29-year-old had suffered an overdose.

“Responded to the above location to assist fire and EMS with a person not breathing,” that report stated.

The sheriff’s office said separately that “the cause and manner of death is still being looked at,” adding that “there is no indication or suspicion of foul play.”

That statement acknowledged that it’s up to medical personnel to definitively determine a cause of death, while indicating that hospital emergency room staff led the responding law enforcement officer “to believe an overdose was a possibility.”

Hanson, who spent most of his career with the Braves, had trouble breathing Sunday when he was rushed to an Atlanta hospital, and he was in a coma Monday due to catastrophic organ failure, CNN affiliate WSB reported, citing unnamed sources.

The Braves’ front office confirmed Hanson’s death, and Major League Baseball’s website reported that some of Hanson’s former teammates were near him when he died at Piedmont Hospital late Monday night.

Citing an unnamed source, the league also reported that Hanson had difficulty breathing Sunday morning and was taken to a hospital.

“We are incredibly saddened to learn of Tommy’s tragic passing,” Braves President John Schuerholz said in a statement. “He was a favorite in the clubhouse and with our staff and he will truly be missed by everyone in Braves Country. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family, former teammates and friends.”

His last season in Atlanta was 2012. When he began suffering shoulder and back injuries, he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels. Earlier this year, he was working his way again through the minors.

Hanson finished his career with 49 wins and 35 losses, a 3.80 earned run average and 648 strikeouts, according to Major League Baseball’s website.

Chipper Jones, who retired from the Braves in 2012 after 19 seasons, was grieving about his onetime teammate.

“My heart is broken today. Tommy Hanson was a great teammate, friend and pitcher. We all loved and pulled for him. We ALL will miss him,” Jones tweeted.

Past Braves players such as Dale Murphy also mourned Hanson on Tuesday.

CNN’s Shawn Nottingham and Debra Goldschmidt contributed to this report.