June 23, 2009 02:55 PM EST |
URBANA, Ill. — Authorities say former Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett died of an overdose of a pain killer, and that they’re investigating his death as an accident.
Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says tests show the 45-year-old musician died from fentanyl. The drug is found in patches commonly prescribed to treat chronic pain.
Bennett died May 24 after being found unresponsive in his home in Urbana.
He worked as a sound engineer and played instruments for Wilco from 1994 to 2001.
Bennett sued Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy in early May. Bennett claimed he was owed royalties for songs during his seven years with the group.
Bennett was born in the Chicago suburb of Rolling Meadows and graduated from the University of Illinois.
From Jay Bennett’s myspace blog, posted on April 24th 2009:
“ I still don’t know exactly when my surgery will be, but I have learned a good deal about the procedure, and that has helped to make me MUCH less fearful. The double dose of anxiety caused by the pain, and the quite natural fear of the invasive surgery itself, really had me in its grip for a while, but now it only comes in waves. Once I am able to get a down payment of sorts together and actually have the surgery performed, I have been told that I then have only about six to eight weeks of physical therapy before I should be operating at approximately 80% capacity—these types of joint replacements have come light years in the past five years or so. The way I look at it, I’m functioning WAY below 80% right now, so what do I have to lose? Except a limp, some pain, some anxiety, and some weight. In many ways, I’m really looking forward to it, and wish I could go in tomorrow.”