‘Port Charles’ Star David Gail’s Cause of Death Revealed

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Weeks after David Gail’s death, the actor’s cause of death has been determined to be anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy following resuscitation from cardio pulmonary arrest due to the drug intoxication.

That drug intoxication involved amphetamines, cocaine, ethanol, and fentanyl, according to Deadline, which reported the Port Charles alum’s cause of death on Friday.

Mary Painter, the 58-year-old’s mother, spoke out about her son’s death in a statement to the site. “It breaks my heart to learn that my son died this way,” she said. “David became reliant on medicine many years ago, after multiple surgeries on his hands and wrists.”

David Gail in 'Savannah' (1996-97)

Everett Collection

Painter said that Gail’s pain prevented him from working for almost a decade, and that only “full disability, physical therapy, and pain medicine” offered relief. “He struggled to stop taking pharmaceuticals and did before turning toward a more Eastern pain management including acupuncture and natural medicines,” she said. “I can only assume that his former opioid dependence played a part in self-medicating from uncontrolled sources.”

She added: “David’s death shines a light on the countless innocent victims of pharmaceutical addiction and the fentanyl epidemic that has taken so many of our sons and daughters,” the actor’s mother said. “Please keep David and others battling pain or dependence in your thoughts and prayers.”

News of Gail’s death made headlines last month, and his family initially thought heart failure was the cause of death, per Deadline. After emergency personnel found Gail unresponsive and administered CPR and defibrillation, the actor was kept on life support for several days before being pronounced dead on January 16, the site reports.

Gail was best known for his roles on Beverly Hills, 90210 — in which he recurred as Stuart Carson, onetime fiancé of Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) — and the General Hospital spinoff Port Charles — in which he starred as Dr. Joe Scanlon. He also starred in the 1996 drama series Savannah and guest-starred in Doogie Howser, M.D.; Murder, She Wrote; Matlock; ER; and JAG.

Gail’s family asks for donations to be made in his name to the Partnership to End Addiction.

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