The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Former KTLA news anchor Chris Burrous died from meth toxicity, coroner says

KTLA-TV news anchor Chris Burrous (Photo: KTLA/Tribune Media)

Methamphetamine combined with cardiovascular disease resulted in the death of former KTLA news anchor Chris Burrous last year, a much-anticipated coroner’s report released on Friday revealed.

The autopsy includes a police report that contains sordid details of the news anchor’s last moments, suggesting the California broadcaster was living a double life shrouded in a cloak of secrecy from those who claimed to have known him best.

Burrous died mysteriously on December 28 just hours after wrapping up a shift on a KTLA (Channel 5) broadcast. Police said then the news anchor was found unresponsive in a Los Angeles-area hotel room after an emergency phone call was placed by a male friend. A law enforcement source told local media the case was being investigated as a suspected overdose.

For nearly two months, details of the case were kept under guard, with law enforcement officials blocking requests for public records related to Burrous’ death and keeping quiet about the incident while an investigation unfolded.

Almost as if to make up for the long delay, a coroner’s report released Friday went into excruciating detail about the final moments of his life, based largely upon a detective’s report collated from interviews with those who saw him in his last hours.

According to the report, Burrous left a work meeting early after complaining of an unspecified illness. He told co-workers he was going home, but instead check in to a Days Inn motel room in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale.

It was there, police say, that Burrous arranged for a sexual encounter with a friend he met through Grindr, a gay phone app. Burrous administered two “rocks” of crystal methamphetamine through his rectum, the report said, while also inhaling alkyl nitrites, or “poppers,” through a filtration mask.

During the sexual encounter, the friend noticed Burrous grunting, then vomiting, while his face was covered by the mask. The companion called 9-1-1 and began administering CPR. Burrous was transported to a hospital emergency room where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Police seized the filtration mask and a sex toy from the hotel room as evidence.

In an interview with police, the unidentified companion said he and Burrous had met off and on over the course of a six-month period, having first met on Grindr sometime in the middle of last year. Police said the friend was unaware Burrous was a news anchor.

The details of the hotel rendezvous have largely been a mystery to the general public, though police apparently revealed some of what happened to Burrous’ wife later in the day. In an interview with police, Burrous’ wife Mai Do-Burrous said she had no reason to suspect her husband was a habitual drug user, but that Burrous did have a history of “risk taking behavior.”

The coroner’s report said “hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease” were contributing factors in the news anchor’s death. Hypertension is more commonly known as high blood pressure; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is damaged caused to the heart’s blood vessels, usually attributed to clogged arteries due to bad diet.

Burrous was laid to rest last month at a ceremony on what would have been his 44th birthday.

Disclosure: The author of this post was a personal friend of Burrous.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
Home » News » Former KTLA news anchor Chris Burrous died from meth toxicity, coroner says