Tampa police have launched a criminal investigation into the death of former Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams.
The mother and grandmother of Williams’ eight-year-old daughter told police that they had heard that Williams was supplied Percocet, an opioid painkiller that requires a prescription, while he was in the hospital following complications from a construction accident, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Williams allegedly went into cardiac arrest the day he received the painkiller, which was about a week before he died and two weeks after the construction accident, the outlet said.
He died at 36 years old.
Three of Williams’ other friends told the outlet that hospital visitors gave him drugs.
“People are walking around free, and Mike is dead,” Williams’ close friend David “Phūj” Thornton said. “It is sad if people (who visited Williams) at his bedside didn’t have his best interests.”Tampa Bay police are reportedly conducting a criminal investigation into the death of former Bucs wideout Mike Williams.Getty Images
Tampa Bay police told the outlet that “The nature of the crime is under review,” while a spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause of death is “pending further study” amid “an open active criminal investigation.”
Previous reports of Williams’ hospitalization and subsequent death had mentioned that he died due to injuries sustained in a construction accident and had not mentioned the possibility of drugs as a complicating factor.
A GoFundMe set up by Williams’ family said that he was struck by a steel beam while doing construction work in Florida, and that he was “swelling on his brain and swelling on his spinal cord that was ruptured.”Mike Williams finished second in the 2010 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year voting.Getty Images
Williams had initially thought that he had walked away from the accident with just a headache, two of his friends told the Tampa Bay Times, but the conditions worsened, his vision became blurred and eventually he lost feeling in his legs.
He underwent spinal surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
One of his friends told the Tampa Bay Times that after surgery Williams had requested to be supplied with Percocet in addition to the medications he was receiving at the hospital.Mike Williams spent four years with the Bucs and one season with the Bills.Getty Images
The friend, Tyshawn Edwards, said he denied the request but believes someone else fulfilled it.
Williams played in the NFL from 2010-14, with four years for the Buccaneers and one season for the Bills, accumulating 223 receptions for 3,089 yards and 26 touchdowns.