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Cause Of Death For Rice Star Blain Padgett Has Been Revealed

A general view of a goal post.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: A general view is seen during the College Football Sydney Cup match between Stanford University (Stanford Cardinal) and Rice University (Rice Owls) at Allianz Stadium on August 27, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

In March, the Rice football program experienced a true tragedy, with the loss of star defensive end Blain Padgett. The 21-year old was found dead in his apartment, after the team became concerned about his absence from a practice.

Padgett, a native of Sour Lake, Texas, had emerged as one of the Owls' best defensive performers. He was set for a potential all-conference year.

Today, we learned of the reason for his tragic passing. According to the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office, Padgett died after taking a powerful synthetic opioid carfentanil.

A doctor at Baylor described the drug as an "elephant tranquilizer" that is "10,000 times more powerful than morphine." From ABC13:

Dr. Richard Pesikoff, a Baylor College of Medicine employee, said carfentanil is a dangerous opioid that was designed to be an elephant tranquilizer.

It's 10,000 times more potent than morphine, and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

Dr. Pesikoff said carfentanil is deadly because it causes the brain to suppress breathing.

"It's a dangerous recreational drug," Dr. Pesikoff said. "Probably the most dangerous. Maybe LSD is equally as dangerous because it comes in micrograms and just the tiny bit that you touch go through the pores in your skin."

Blain Padgett's father released a statement after the coroner's findings about his death:

"The family is very devastated by the news and how it came out of the blue. The way we heard about it is very disappointing. We would like to know how Blain got his hands on this drug that seems very difficult to get. That's our main question. How did he get it and why did he take it? Sadly, nothing we find out will bring Blain back, which is what we really want."

Our thoughts continue to go out to the Padgett family, and all of those in the Rice community impacted by this tragedy.