June 29, 2009

Autopsy: Mays died of heart failure

Iconic U.S. television pitchman Billy Mays probably died of heart failure and not from a blow to the head sustained on an airplane, a medical examiner says.

Tampa, Fla., medical examiner Vern Adams said an autopsy done Monday on the body of Mays, 50, revealed hardening of the arteries, dousing speculation that his death came as the result of hitting his head during a rough landing on a flight from Philadelphia to Tampa hours before his death, The New York Daily News reported.

Mays was found dead in his Tampa home Sunday. Adams added that Mays was taking pain medication after undergoing two hip replacement surgeries, but those pills did not contribute to his death, the newspaper said.

The brash, buoyant and bearded pitchman become a cultural icon for his TV ads and infomercials for such household products as OxiClean and OrangeGlo. News of his death prompted his fans to flood his Facebook page with thousands messages of condolences.

The Daily News says May's 22-year-old son, Billy, posted a message on Twitter, saying, This feels like one of those times when I would call my dad and say 'What should I do?'