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‘Port Charles’ Actor David Gail Cause Of Death Determined, Mother Speaks Out Against Fentanyl Epidemic

The Port Charles actor David Gail, who died last month at the age of 58, passed away from brain and heart complications following drug intoxication involving amphetamines, cocaine, ethanol and fentanyl, and his mother is now speaking out about the dangers of pharmaceutical addiction and the fentanyl epidemic.

The official cause of death is anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (a brain injury due to lack of blood flow) following resuscitation from cardio pulmonary arrest due to the drug intoxication.

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“It breaks my heart to learn that my son died this way,” said Gail’s mother Mary Painter in a statement to Deadline. “David became reliant on medicine many years ago, after multiple surgeries on his hands and wrists. He lived in enough pain to prevent him from working for almost a decade, with relief only achieved through full disability, physical therapy and pain medicine. He struggled to stop taking pharmaceuticals and did before turning toward a more Eastern pain management including acupuncture and natural medicines. I can only assume that his former opioid dependence played a part in self-medicating from uncontrolled sources.”

Gail was found unresponsive by emergency personnel who attempted to save his life with cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation. Despite their efforts, he was put on life support where he remained for several days, and was pronounced dead on January 16.

His family initially believed his death was due to heart failure.

Gail grew up in Tampa, Florida, where he studied finance and went on to work in the stock trading industry. His interest in acting led him to the stage and eventually to Los Angeles. He made his onscreen acting debut in 1990 on an episode of Growing Pains, with appearances on other episodic series leading to his casting in the recurring role of Stuart Carson, a love interest of Shannen Dougherty’s Brenda Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210.

In 1999, he landed the role of Dr. Joe Scanlon on the General Hospital spin-off soap Port Charles, a role he’d play for more than 200 episodes.

Other TV credits include The Roundtable, Savannah, Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, Doogie Howser, M.D., and Perfect Opposites. He starred opposite Bradley Cooper in the film Bending All The Rules.

“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.”

In addition to his mother, Gail is survived by son Guthier, and sister Kathryn Gail. The family asks for privacy at this time, and requests that in lieu of flowers, donations to be made in Gail’s name to the Partnership To End Addiction.

“We are extremely touched by the outpouring of love from David’s dedicated fans and colleagues,” said his mother. “We are grateful for all the support received during this very difficult time.”

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