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I-Team: Toxicology tests complete in Tony Hsieh death; findings do not impact investigation |

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I-Team: Toxicology tests complete in Tony Hsieh death; findings do not impact investigation

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has received toxicology results for former Zappos CEO and Las Vegas entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, but the findings do not change the investigation into his death, officials told the I-Team.

As the I-Team reported in January, investigators in New London, Connecticut, said the 46-year-old was in a storage room with a 20-pound propane tank at the time of the Nov. 18 fire. Hsieh died in Connecticut on Friday, Nov. 27 after being rescued from the fire.

As previously reported, surveillance video shows Hsieh opening the door to the shed as smoke appeared to be coming from it 10 minutes before his friends called 911, investigators said. An employee had been checking on Hsieh every 10 minutes, leaving Post-It Notes and knocking on the shed’s door before the fire, investigators said.

Video footage obtained by investigators shows friends bringing Hsieh whip-its and a whip-it canister, the report said.

At this time, the findings of Hsieh's toxicology will not be made public because Connecticut law forbids the release of toxicology results unless it is authorized by next of kin.

“There is physical evidence to lead investigators to theorize that Hsieh could have been impaired or intoxicated at the time of the fire,” investigators said in their report and obtained by the I-Team in January. Also found in the area was a marijuana pipe and Fernet Branca liquor bottles, investigators said.

Fire investigators reiterated those findings when asked about the toxicology results on Thursday. Investigators noted intoxication would affect a person’s ability to react to a fire and would not be listed as a cause of death.

Though the exact cause of the fire is undetermined, investigators said it likely started at 3:14 a.m., investigators said. An employee had last checked on Hsieh 25 minutes before, records show.


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“Behavior that is often determined to be inappropriate may be due to confusion caused by toxic gasses,” the report on the fire that killed Hsieh said. “Either one of these scenarios could explain why Hsieh did not recognize and react to the hazards presented by this fire.” 

Hsieh’s cause of death is listed as complications of smoke inhalation and the manner of death is accidental. The exact scenario that happened, essentially what substances were in Hsieh’s body, would not impact the investigation, officials told the I-Team.


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In December, a judge named Hsieh’s father and brother as special administrators to his estate since the entrepreneur did not have a will.

Hsieh led retail giant Zappos for 20 years and retired as CEO in August 2020. He played a pivotal role in the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas and had an estimated net worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to officials in Connecticut, the investigation into his death is closed pending further information.

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