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Former Stanford athlete Zach Hoffpauir reportedly died of accidental overdose

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An autopsy showed ‘fentanyl toxicity’ for Hoffpauir, who died in May in Arizona

Oregon State v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In the late stages of last week, it was revealed that former Stanford Cardinal multi-sport athlete Zach Hoffpauir, who passed away in May, had died due to an accidental overdose, according to a report citing the county medical examiner in his native Arizona.

The news broke last Thursday via an NBC affiliate in Phoenix.

Hoffpauir was 26 at the time of his passing this past spring, just a few months after he had been hired as a defensive backs coach at Northern Colorado under head coach Ed McCaffrey. Zach was close friends with Ed’s son, former Cardinal teammate Christian.

His father, Doug, said that they’ve donated Zach’s brain for concussion research after initial thoughts from his passing were that he had committed suicide, though the family denied that it was suicide. Turns out they were absolutely right and the medical examiner’s report cited ‘fentanyl toxicity’ as the cause of death, and was noted that it was an accident.

It should be noted that the conjuring up of suicide as the cause of death likely came from a podcast appearance that Zach had made with former Arizona State football player Jordan Simone. In it, Hoffpauir said he had suffered at least ‘five or six’ concussions through his time in football and had even attempted suicide once before.

There was also previous discussions that Zach dealt with depression, and many linked that as a potential side effect from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). That’s what prompted the Hoffpauir family, led by Doug, to donate Zach’s brain to research.

“We won’t find out for over a year,’’ Doug said at the time to the NBC affiliate. “I hate that it’s because of this, but maybe some positive can come of it. We’re going to let them do the research.”

Zach was a multi-sport athlete at Stanford, lettering in football and baseball. He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 22nd round of the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft and played in their organization during the spring of the 2016 year before returning to the football team that fall.