Medicine: How Cocaine Killed Leonard Bias

Doctors renew warnings about a favorite "recreational drug"

"Leonard Bias died of cocaine intoxication. This interrupted normal electrical control of his heartbeat, which resulted in sudden onset of seizures and cardiac arrest. The toxicological study we did in addition to the cocaine analysis showed no alcohol or other drugs in his body at the time of his death."

With that unequivocal statement, the Maryland medical examiner, Dr. John Smialek, last week ended some of the widespread speculation about the shocking death of the University of Maryland basketball star. Bias, 22, who had just been drafted by the Boston Celtics, had been in perfect health. He did not, as rumored,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!