Country singer Luke Bell, who was found dead in Tucson, Arizona in August, died of an accidental fentanyl overdose, according to an autopsy report.
Videos by American Songwriter
The medical examiner’s report stated that Bell was “reportedly found unresponsive by a passerby in a shaded area of a parking structure,” and that drug paraphernalia was also discovered at the scene. In the report released by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office in Arizona, Bell’s cause of death was fentanyl intoxication, and the manner of his death was ruled accidental.
The report also revealed that Bell suffered arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease at the time of his death, but this condition was not related to his cause of death.
A prescription opioid generally used as an anesthetic, Fentanyl is typically 80 to 200 times as potent as morphine, and is often sold as heroin and “commonly found in combination with other illicit drugs,” according to the toxicology report.
On Aug. 26, the country artist, who was 32 at the time, was found dead after he went missing for more than a week when authorities responded to a report of an “unresponsive” male, who was later identified as Bell. His body was found in the area where he had reportedly gone missing on Aug. 20, according to the Tucson Police Department. Prior to his death, Bell was on a trip to Tucson with close friend and country musician Matt Kinman when he suddenly vanished.
The singer suffered from severe bipolar disorder, which worsened following his father’s death years earlier, according to his family, and recently changed his medication for treatment prior to his death.
“As we navigate our heartbreak we respectfully ask for privacy to allow us room to grieve and honor his memory,” read a portion of a statement released by Bell’s family following his death. “Our only comfort comes in the fact that our Luke is finally free and at peace.”
Born Jan. 27, 1990, in Lexington, Kentucky, Bell started out playing local bars in college and moved to Austin, Texas to record his self-titled debut, which he self-produced in 2012, before relocating to Cody, Wyoming where he wrote and recorded his second album, Don’t Mind If I Do, in 2014. Bell followed up the album with a second self-titled album in 2016 after settling in Nashville.
Known for his songs “Where Ya Been?” and “The Bullfighter,” throughout his career, Bell opened for country legends including Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., and Dwight Yoakam, and released his final single “Jealous Guy” in January 2021.
Photo: Laura E. Partain / Missing Piece Group