Country music singer Luke Bell’s cause of death was an accidental fentanyl overdose, according to an autopsy report from Arizona’s Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office obtained by NBC News.
The report also determined that Bell suffered from arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease at the time of his death.
“In consideration of the known circumstances surrounding this death, the available medical history, and the examination of the remains, the cause of death is ascribed to fentanyl intoxication,” the report stated. “The manner of death is accident.”
The “Where Ya Been?” singer was found dead in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 26, nearly a week after he had been reported missing. He was 32.
Bell’s friends and family members remembered the musician’s “gentle heart” and “wanderer’s spirit” after his death.
“We have lost our beloved son, brother and friend and we are heartbroken. Luke had a gentle heart, a wanderer’s spirit and a musical gift that he was fortunate to share with us and the world,” Bell’s loved ones told NBC News in a statement on Sept. 1.
Bell’s family and friends revealed that Bell had struggled with mental illness, and that his struggle became more pronounced after his father died.
“Unfortunately Luke suffered from the disease of mental illness, which progressed after his father’s death in 2015. Luke was supported through his disease by a community of loving family and friends. Despite this, he was unable to receive the help he needed to ease his pain,” they said in their statement.
“Our hearts go out to the millions of people affected by mental illness who, like us, understand the devastating disappointment of a system that consistently fails to provide caring solutions to those who suffer,” they added.
In 2016, Bell, a former ranch hand, told the country music website The Boot it was a “big deal” that he became a professional singer, given his humble background.
“It was a very different route to take; there aren’t any musicians in my family,” he said. “College really wasn’t doing it for me, and I was looking for an independent platform to go learn, and music was that.”
The singer also told the site that his ability to focus on the positive helped him to continue to stick to his dream. “I live in the day, and I count smiles. That’s it,” he said.
“Life’s not that bad. The downside, in some ways, is I don’t have a wife and kids, but at the same time, it’s pretty ideal right now,” he said. “I just travel around to other cities and hang out with other people.”
Gina Vivinetto is a writer for TODAY.com. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she spends her free time hiking, reading and snuggling with her “Friends” box set. She and her wife, Molly, are the proud moms of two formerly stray cats, Sophie and Pierre, and a rescue dog named Gracie.
Diana Dasrath is NBC News’ entertainment producer and a senior reporter.