Actor David Gail’s Heart Attack Related to Opioid Addiction, Mother Says: One of ‘the Countless Innocent Victims of Pharmaceutical Addiction’

The “90210” and “Port Charles” actor died in January at age 58

A light-skinned man, David Gail, in a jean shirt poses.
David Gail (Getty Images)

The family of David Gail has revealed that the “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Port Charles” actor’s fatal heart attack was in part the result of damage to his body caused by drug abuse.

Gail’s mother, Mary Painter, went public on Friday with the news that according to his autopsy, at the time the actor died, he had consumed amphetamines, cocaine, ethanol and fentanyl.

In a statement provided to Deadline, she revealed that for years, Gail had struggled with an opioid addiction that began thanks to prescriptions he received after several painful surgeries. She also said that she hoped his death “shines a light on the countless innocent victims of pharmaceutical addiction and the fentanyl epidemic that has taken so many of our sons and daughters.”

“It breaks my heart to learn that my son died this way. David became reliant on medicine many years ago, after multiple surgeries on his hands and wrists. He lived in enough pain to prevent him from working for almost a decade, with relief only achieved through full disability, physical therapy and pain medicine,” Painter told Deadline.

“He struggled to stop taking pharmaceuticals and did before turning toward a more Eastern pain management including acupuncture and natural medicines. I can only assume that his former opioid dependence played a part in self-medicating from uncontrolled sources,” she said.

“Please keep David and others battling pain or dependence, in your thoughts and prayers,” Painter’s statement continued. “We are extremely touched by the outpouring of love from David’s dedicated fans and colleagues. We are grateful for all the support received during this very difficult time.”

Gail died Jan. 19. Born Feb. 27, 1965, in Tampa, Fla., his television debut came in 1990 on one episode of “Growing Pains.” He went on to have a romantic arc of “90210” and appeared in over 200 episodes of “Port Charles.” His other television credits included “Savannah,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.”


One response to “Actor David Gail’s Heart Attack Related to Opioid Addiction, Mother Says: One of ‘the Countless Innocent Victims of Pharmaceutical Addiction’”

  1. Jerry Harville Avatar
    Jerry Harville

    I am sad for Mr. Gail’s mother for the loss of her son. I do think that to blame opioids given for surgery caused his death. Let’s be real, speed, cocaine, booze and fentenal are not caused by pain management treatment. In no stretch of the truth.

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