Why Jimmy Hayes' Widow Says His Overdose "Does Not Define Him"

Less than two months after former NHL player Jimmy Hayes passed away, his widow Kristen Hayes expressed hopes that his story can “make a positive impact.”

By Mike Vulpo Oct 20, 2021 1:15 AMTags
Watch: In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2021

Kristen Hayes is trying to find the positive in her family's unexpected tragedy.

Close to two months after Jimmy Hayes passed away at the age of 31, his widow is sharing a glimpse into her grieving process on social media.

In a post shared through Instagram Stories on Monday, Oct. 18, Kristen reflected on the positive memories she has of her husband who was a player on the Boston Bruins hockey team.

"Though we are shocked and heartbroken beyond words, I choose to remember my husband and the boys' father by the enormous love and joy he brought us and so many others," she wrote to her followers. "This battle does not define him, and I will still tell my boys every day to #BeLikeJimmy."

"Jimmy touched so many lives while he was here by living so generously and open heartedly, and I hope his story can continue to make a positive impact, especially for anyone struggling with the grips of substance abuse," Kristen continued. "I sincerely appreciate all of the support that has been shown to our family during this difficult time."

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During their marriage, Kristen and Jimmy welcomed two sons including Beau, 2, and 5-month-old Mac. Jimmy passed away just days after celebrating his eldest son's birthday.


On Oct. 17, the Massachusetts state medical examiner confirmed to E! News that Jimmy died of "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine." The death was ruled to be accidental.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Kristen expressed shock by the official cause of death.

"I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs," she told the newspaper. "I really thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn't that…It didn't make any sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different phone call when they called. I was hoping to get some clarity, and I was shocked to hear that it was that."

Jimmy's dad, Kevin Hayes, also told the outlet that he himself is a recovering addict. After noticing a change in his son's behavior a year ago, Kevin approached the athlete about concerns that he could be struggling with addiction.  

"I went to him, and I said, 'I think there might be a problem here with pills,'" Kevin recalled. "He had had an injury for a while, and I think he started taking the painkillers, and they get you."

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