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Bono’s Widow Blames Drugs for Death

November 19, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Sonny Bono’s widow says the late congressman secret battle with prescription drugs contributed to his death in a skiing accident in January, TV Guide reports.

Rep. Mary Bono, who replaced Bono as a representative from California, said her husband was taking ``15, 20 maybe″ pills a day around the time he died, the magazine said for its Nov. 28 issue. She said Bono began taking prescription pain-killers for chronic back pain and neck problems exacerbated by a neck injury in 1995.

``I am 100 percent convinced that is why he died,″ she said. ``What he did showed absolute lack of judgment. That’s what these pills do. They take away your thought process.″

Tests done on Bono following his death did not show evidence of drug or alcohol abuse. Mrs. Bono said the levels of Vicodin and Valium were in the ``therapeutic range″ _ in other words, the prescribed amounts _ at the time of his death.

Even so, Mrs. Bono said, the drugs contain warnings that normal levels can make activities like operating machinery more risky. And she said they made Bono behave erratically _ moody, withdrawn and angry.

``People don’t know this. They don’t know the true struggle that was there,″ she said.

``One time Cher said, `You know, Mary, you’ve gotta get out of there.′ She knew how bad it was. His mood swings were so hard. In the middle of the night, he would wake up and be angry about something.″

An accident two years before Bono’s fatal accident also may have been drug-related, Mrs. Bono said. At that time, Bono fell about 16 feet from a balcony but was unhurt.

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