Sheriff: Gwar guitarist died of heart attackThe hardcore metal rock musician found dead Nov. 3 on a tour bus in Pembina, N.D., died of a heart attack and had cocaine and other drugs in his system.
By: By Stephen J. Lee , Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
The hardcore metal rock musician found dead Nov. 3 on a tour bus in Pembina, N.D., died of a heart attack and had cocaine and other drugs in his system.
Those are the results of an autopsy performed on the body of Cory Smoot, 34, according to Pembina County Sheriff Brian Erovick. But he said he’s waiting for an answer from State’s Attorney Stuart Askew on how much more he can release of the autopsy report.
Smoot was a guitarist for Gwar, a sci-fi, hardcore metal band formed in 1984 in Richmond, Va. He joined the band in 2002.
State Medical Examiner Dr. William Massello III conducted the autopsy in Bismarck on Nov. 4.
The Grand Forks Herald sought a copy of the final autopsy report from the state attorney general’s office, but was unable to get one.
However, the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch ap-parently did get a copy. On Tuesday, it quoted the report as saying Smoot’s death was caused by a “coronary artery thrombosis brought about by his pre-existing coronary artery disease.” Such a thrombosis can be caused by a clot in a blood vessel in the heart and can cause a heart attack.
Died in sleep
Late on the morning of Nov. 3, the band’s tour bus had stopped at the GasTrak service station in Pembina to gather everyone’s passports when tour manager Eddy Oertell discovered that Smoot was dead, according to an investigation report from the attorney general’s office.
The sheriff called the Bureau of Criminal Investigation for assistance.
In an interview with a sheriff’s deputy band members said they had slept since leaving Minneapolis early that morning following a show downtown at the First Avenue club. Presumably Smoot did, too. They were on their way to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where they had a show scheduled Nov. 4.
Smoot apparently died somewhere between Minneapolis and Pembina.
Some band members told the deputy they suspected Smoot took drugs, but had never seen him do so. The band was eventually released to continue its tour.
Investigators reported that they had seized, among other things, a prescription bottle with the painkiller oxycodone, a prescription from a doctor in Smoot’s name, a plastic baggie containing what appeared to be crushed pills, a $5 bill with white residue on it and two empty syringes.
The band had just played at First Avenue, a downtown Minneapolis club, on Nov. 2 and was heading to a Nov. 4 concert in Edmonton. The other members of the group said at the time that they decided to complete the tour.
Erovick said no charges are being contemplated in Smoot’s death.
A private service for Smoot was held Nov. 11 in Chesterfield, Va., according to the band’s website.
Stephen J. Lee is a reporter
at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.