Authorities in the US Virgin Islands said the autopsy results reveal that former US swimming champion Jamie Cail died from an accidental overdose, ABC News reported.
Cail was found unresponsive in the St. John home she shared with her boyfriend on February 21. Her boyfriend, whose name has been withheld, had returned home shortly after midnight to check on her and found Cail lying on the floor.
He and a friend then drove Cail to a nearby clinic where attempts to save her life failed.
Toxicology results found that Cail, 42, died of “fentanyl intoxication” after aspirating “gastric content,” according to the US Virgin Islands Police Department. Citing the August 22 medical examiner’s report, the police determined the manner of death to be accidental.
Cail, originally from Claremont, New Hampshire, was a star swimmer and a member of the women’s swim team at the University of Maine during the 2000/01 academic year.
As a teen, Cail was a member of the relay team that took the gold medal at the Pan Pacific Championships in 1997. She won the silver in the women’s 800-meter freestyle at the FINA Swimming World Cup in Brazil in 1998, according to CNN.
The US Virgin Islands Police Department did not release further details on Cail’s death, so it is not clear if Cail purposely ingested fentanyl or if her system had been exposed to the drug in another way.
A synthetic opioid, fentanyl was originally developed as an anesthetic for surgery. It is also used to alleviate severe pain in those suffering from terminal illnesses like cancer. Fentanyl is one hundred times stronger than morphine and is deadly in small doses.
Illegally produced fentanyl, much of it manufactured in China, is responsible for the spike in overdose deaths in the United States in recent years.