Alcohol, painkillers cause local musician's death

Friday, May 4, 2007
The press release from John Clifton.

A combination of alcohol and prescription painkillers caused the untimely death of local rock guitarist Thomas Johnson, known as Tommy DeWolf, according to information released Friday by Cape Girardeau County Coroner John Clifton.

Though Johnson's death was caused partially by prescription painkillers, Clifton stressed the drugs were not acquired illegally.

"The medications had been prescribed by a local doctor ... and no illicit drugs were involved in Mr. Johnson's death," Clifton stated in a press release. Clifton also said there was no evidence to indicate Johnson's death was anything other than an accident.

Johnson was 40 years old when he was found dead in his Cape Girardeau home on April 17. He was a founding member, lead guitarist and songwriter for the local hard rock band Drivin' Rain. Friends and family said Johnson had struggled with severe, constant pain after a near-fatal auto accident he was involved in a few years ago.

Johnson's friends and colleagues in the local music community have scheduled a tribute concert for the guitarist at Hillbillyz in Ellsinore, Mo., on Friday.

Weigh in on Johnson's death in Matt Sander's Shaking Off Daylight.

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