Sadly, John Matuszak passed away in 1989 at the young age of 38. It was just four years after the Goonies had been filmed and released and his passing came as a shock to many of his friends and fans. The New York Times soon reported that Matuszak had died following an accidental overdose and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office listed the official cause of death as an “acute propoxyphene intoxication.”
Sadly, this cause of death wasn’t as surprising to Matuszaks’s friends and loved ones as one might have hoped. Matuszak’s use of drugs had overshadowed his long career in football and he had admitted in his autobiography that he had problems with addiction. He was addicted to painkillers and narcotics and it is believed that an overdose of one particular narcotic is what caused Matuszak’s untimely death.
As we mentioned before, the coroner’s report after Matuszak’s death stated that he had died from an overdose of propoxyphene. Propoxyphene is am opioid narcotic that is often used as a pain killer and is found in a prescription drug named Darvocet. It was also discovered that Matuszak had a small amount of cocaine in his system at the time of death, but that the amount had not been large enough to kill him. The report also mentioned that Matuszak had an enlarged heart and was suffering from bronchopneumonia, which had also contributed to his death.
Sadly, this wasn’t Matuszak’s first brush with death as he had been hospitalised some years before. This was during the time when Matuszak was playing professional football for the Kansas City Chiefs, back in 1976. He was rushed to the hospital after taking a cocktail of valium and vodka that brought him very close to death. His problems with drugs had been well know amongst his colleagues, but this was the first time that things had gone far enough to land him in the hospital.