Former pro football star Mike Williams, known for his time as a receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, tragically died at the age of 36 from a rare bacterial sepsis and related complications. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department confirmed that Williams’ cause of death was bacterial sepsis with cerebral abscesses and necrotizing lobar pneumonia, which were a result of dental issues including multiple cavities and retained tooth roots. This specific cause of death is unprecedented in the county’s records dating back to the 1980s.
Although arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease was listed as a contributing factor, Williams’ death was ruled as natural by authorities. The circumstances surrounding his passing prompted a police investigation, which has since been closed with no indications of foul play.
In the weeks leading up to his death, Williams’ loved ones expressed concerns about visitors bringing him unprescribed drugs during his hospital stay. The autopsy and toxicology results are still pending, and it was noted in the case summary that Williams was a regular user of kratom, a psychoactive powder derived from a Southeast Asian tree.
The dental form of bacterial sepsis is a preventable condition, according to Dr. Cesar Augusto Migliorati, a professor at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. Poor oral health, tooth decay, and oral infections can lead to infections in other parts of the body, causing systemic health issues.
Williams had a successful career in football, making a significant impact during his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a rookie, leading the team with 11 touchdowns. He later played for the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs. His life took a turn when he suffered a head injury while employed by Exodus Electric Corp., which ultimately resulted in his hospitalization.
In a shocking turn of events, Williams’ partner, Lyle, initially discovered reports of his death only to later discover that he was still on life support. Unfortunately, Williams was eventually admitted to hospice care and passed away five days later.
The sudden and tragic loss of Mike Williams serves as a reminder of the importance of oral health and the potential consequences of neglecting dental care. It is a heartbreaking loss for the football community and a stark reminder that early detection and treatment of dental issues can have a significant impact on overall health. As his loved ones mourn, they hope that others can learn from Williams’ experience and prioritize their dental health to prevent similar tragedies in the future.