Mother, widow of late Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs break their silence in interview

Carli Skaggs and Debbie Hetman, the widow and mother of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, break their silence on Skaggs' death.

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Saturday, October 15, 2022
Mother, widow of late Angels player Tyler Skaggs break their silence
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The widow and mother of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs tell their story on camera for the first time since Skaggs died after taking fentanyl-laced oxycodone in 2019.

The widow of Tyler Skaggs and his mother shared their story on camera for the first time since the 2019 death of the Los Angeles Angels pitcher.

Skaggs' wife, Carli Skaggs, and mother, Debbie Hetman, spoke to ABC News for the exclusive interview. Just this week, former Angels communications director Eric Kay was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison in connection to the player's death.

"I loved him so much," Carli Skaggs said. "We had a love that was so special."

Skaggs was just 27 years old when he died after taking fentanyl-laced oxycodone while on the road with his team.

"I couldn't believe it was true. That day still haunts me," Hetman said.

"I was driving in my car, and I got a call from the general manager. I knew it was bad. I didn't want to hear what he was gonna tell me," Carli Skaggs said regarding the moment she found out about his death. "I knew my life changed forever in that moment."

Tyler and Carli had just gotten married in December. He was on a mission to start 30 games that season. His family said he was well on his way despite injuries.

But then he took the laced pill. An autopsy report revealed Skaggs died after choking on his vomit, with a dangerous combination of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system.

His family said they didn't know he was taking pain pills.

On Tuesday, Kay was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for providing Skaggs with the drugs that led to his death. His sentence was two more years than the minimum. The judge said it was because of jailhouse calls in which Kay made disparaging remarks about Skaggs.

Prosecutors also accused Kay of being in the room when Skaggs choked, but not trying to save him.

"That haunts me all the time," Hetman said. "To think that somebody is in the room and doesn't render help to your child, to your son. It's so heartbreaking."

Carli Skaggs and Debbie Hetman are determined to carry on Tyler's mission with the Tyler Skaggs Foundation, and they hope by sharing their story they can spread awareness of the dangers of fentanyl.

ABC News contributed to this report.