Bobby Sheehan Death Accidental Overdose, Coroner Reportedly Rules

Doctor quoted by Associated Press cites heroin, cocaine, Valium for Blues Traveler bassist's demise.

A combination of heroin, cocaine and the sedative Valium killed Blues

Traveler bassist Bobby Sheehan, the New Orleans coroner announced Wednesday,

according to the Associated Press, which called his death an

accidental overdose.

Sheehan, 31, died at his New Orleans home Aug. 20. Though an autopsy was conducted Aug. 21, coroner's investigators said they wouldn't list a cause of death until they had the results of toxicology tests. The drugs were found through those tests, according to Dr. Frank Minyard, the AP reported.

"He lost his life at a very early age," Minyard was quoted as saying. "It's very sad. This guy had a bright future."

Minyard could not be reached for comment Thursday (Oct. 21). An investigator who worked on Sheehan's case said he was unable to comment. Spokespersons for Blues Traveler also could not be reached for comment.

Sheehan, described as an ardent partyer and fun-loving guy by friends, pleaded guilty in January 1998 to possessing less than a gram of cocaine after he was arrested in September 1997 at an airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The surviving members of Blues Traveler — harmonica player and singer John Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla and drummer Brendan Hill — announced earlier this month they would continue as a band in the wake of Sheehan's death. No determination as to whether Sheehan will be replaced has been made, according to a band spokesperson.

"We thought it would be useless to compound the tragedy by letting something we all, including Bobby, worked so hard for to fall apart," Kinchla said in a statement released Oct. 6 through A&M Records.

Blues Traveler formed in Princeton, N.J., in 1988. They organized the annual Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere tour and have released three platinum albums, including the six-times platinum Four (1994). That album included the top-10 pop hit "Run-Around" (RealAudio excerpt), which broke several months after the album's release.

Their music is characterized by Popper's harmonica solos, Sheehan's groove-heavy bass and onstage jams during which Kinchla and Popper trade riffs between the former's guitar and the latter's harmonica.

Sheehan moved to New Orleans with his girlfriend last year and was working on a solo album at the time of his death. Chris Robinson, singer for the Black Crowes, who toured as part of H.O.R.D.E. in 1992, said last month that he hung out with Sheehan in New York a month before he died.

"He was kind of telling me how much he was digging New Orleans," Robinson said. "He seemed to be in a really good place."