Coroner’s Report: NFL’s Bubba Smith Died of Diet Pill Overdose

Football star and actor Bubba Smith had acute drug intoxication and also suffered from heart disease and high-blood pressure.

Posted: 11/02/2011 07:23 PM EDT
Filed Under Bubba Smith, NFL

Bubba Smith

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office disclosed Wednesday that former football star, actor and commercial pitchman Bubba Smith died from an overdose of diet pills and also suffered from heart disease and high-blood pressure, the Los Angeles Times reports. Smith’s caretaker discovered his body inside his apartment in L.A.’s Baldwin Hills community on August 3. He was 66 years old.


Phentermine, a weight-loss drug, was found in Smith’s system, according to the report. Smith’s heart had also swelled to nearly twice the weight of a normal heart. Officials report that some vessels were blocked by as much as 75 percent.


Born Charles Aaron Smith, the 6-foot-7, 280-pound Texas native was once one of the most feared defensive ends in the game. A two-time All-American at Michigan State, he signed with the Baltimore Colts in 1967 as the top pick in the NFL draft. Smith played five seasons with the Colts, earning a championship ring in Super Bowl V and first-team All-Pro honors in 1971. He spent two seasons with the Oakland Raiders and two more with the Houston Oilers before a knee injury ended his career in 1976.


Off the field, Smith was best known for his one-liners in Miller Lite commercials in 1979 and for his role as soft-spoken officer Moses Hightower in the Police Academy movies in the 1980s. He also appeared in classic series such as Charlie’s Angels and Good Times.

(Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)