9-1-1: Lone Star actor Tyler Sanders' parents are speaking out after his cause of death was revealed to be an accidental fentanyl overdose. The 18-year-old's parents, David and Ginger Sanders, gave emotional statements mourning the loss of their son, who died in June.
"Tyler was an ambitious, hard-working actor who was dealing with deep and persistent depression," David said in a Dec. 29 media release, E! News reports. "Although actively seeking treatment, Tyler struggled to find relief and chose to experiment with drugs. Tyler fell into drug use, not as a way to have fun socially, but rather as an attempt to overcome his profound mental health struggle." David noted that while they "continue to mourn his death," Sanders' family will take steps to share his story "in hopes of furthering the conversation around this pervasive issue."
Ginger said in her own statement, "Losing Tyler due to fentanyl poisoning has been incredibly difficult. I want others to understand that we are a family much like all other families who never thought this could happen to us. Tyler had a strong support system and still could not overcome his persistent depression. Perhaps because of his depression, Tyler sought out deep connections and to bring those around him joy."
She continued, "While Tyler quietly fought his inner battles, he was outwardly determined to make sure no one felt as he did. Tyler loved the Lord, loved people and did his best every day. It is our sincere prayer that our story might save others."
Sanders died on June 16 in his Los Angeles-area home. His official cause of death was confirmed this week by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, who noted in the autopsy report that his death was accidental and that he had a history of drug abuse, including heroin, cocaine, LSD, mushrooms and Xanax. The autopsy also revealed that Sanders revealed to a friend via text messages the night before his death that he was using fentanyl. When the friend attempted to call Sanders, the actor did not answer. Police were called to his home and when they arrived found him unresponsive in bed. The autopsy report confirmed that illicit drugs were found in the bathroom of the home.
Sanders began his acting career at just 10 years old, going on to land his first big role in 2015 on JLW Academy, then scoring a big TV role on Fear the Walking Dead in 2017. Shortly after that, he appeared as a guest star on The Rookie and on 9-1-1: Lone Star in 2022. Prior to his death, he filmed The Price We Pay, a movie starring Stephen Dorff and Emilie Hirsch.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call the National Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879.