Bassist John Entwistle of The Who died of heart attack caused by cocaine use, coroner says

Friday, July 26th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ A heart attack caused by cocaine use was responsible for the death of John Entwistle, the bassist for the rock band The Who, a coroner said.

Clark County Coroner Ron Flud said Thursday that the 57-year-old's death was accidental and was not an overdose.

Entwistle's body was found in his bed at the Hard Rock Hotel on June 27, one day before the band was scheduled to kick off a three-month nationwide tour at the hotel's concert hall.

``The heart attack we believe was brought on by the significant amount of cocaine'' that was in Entwistle's system at the time of death, he said.

Exactly how much of the drug Entwistle had used remains unknown.

``Cocaine is a different animal,'' Flud said. ``It's not like alcohol. There's no way we can put a number on it. You've got a lethal drug on board at the time you have a bad heart. That's a bad combination.''

Hotel officials declined comment Thursday, as did a spokeswoman with the band's record label, MCA/Universal Music Enterprises.

Entwistle was one of the band's founders. Another original member, drummer Keith Moon, died in 1978 of a drug overdose at the age of 32. Authorities said he took too many pills prescribed to control his alcoholism.

Entwistle died after cocaine caused the contraction of coronary arteries that were already damaged by heart disease, Flud said.

After the death, a musician in Entwistle's own band said the bassist had been on medication for a heart condition.

The Who, founded in London in the early 1960s, was part of the British rock invasion that brought bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles to America. Their hits included ``I Can See For Miles,'' ``I Can't Explain,'' ``Substitute,'' ``Pinball Wizard,'' ``Won't Get Fooled Again'' and ``Who Are You.''

The group, which includes original members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, is scheduled to play a show Friday in Mansfield, Mass.