Ehlinger died of accidental overdose, family says

    Dave Wilson is an editor for ESPN.com since 2010. He previously worked at The Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union-Tribune and Las Vegas Sun.

The family of Jake Ehlinger, a Texas linebacker who died in May, said Thursday that his death was caused by an accidental overdose of what was believed to be Xanax laced with fentanyl.

Ehlinger, the younger brother of former Texas and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger, was found unresponsive on May 6. He was 20.

“Today we are sad to share that we have learned that Jake was a victim of an accidental overdose of what was believed to be Xanax laced with toxic drugs including deadly Fentanyl,” the family said in its statement. “The spread of counterfeit pills is an ongoing and significant issue throughout our country, particularly in schools, colleges, and universities.

“As our family continues to process Jake’s death, we felt it was important to share these details with the hope that Jake will not have died in vain. We pray that sharing Jake’s story will help shed light on this problem and prevent other families from also tragically losing a loved one.”

Jake’s death was another heartbreaking loss for the Ehlinger family. Ross Ehlinger, Sam and Jake’s father, died in 2013 during a triathlon in San Francisco from a heart attack at age 46.

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In May, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian called Jake’s death “a tragedy beyond measure.”

“Words cannot express the depth of our sadness and the huge void we are feeling, but above all else, our hearts pour out to Sam, Jena, Morgen and the entire Ehlinger family,” Sarkisian said in a statement. “Jake was a tremendous person and was everything you could ask for in a student-athlete. Being a Longhorn meant everything to him, and he truly embodied all that it means to be one.”

Jake Ehlinger played at Texas for two seasons.

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