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UNC Junior Died From Huffing Computer Cleaning Spray

By Ran Northam Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:19 am

RALEIGH – The autopsy of 22-year-old Stedman English Gage reports he died from acute 1,1 difluoroethane toxicity, likely caused by inhaling computer duster/cleaner spray.

Gage was the son of UNC Board of Governors member Hannah Gage; he was found by Chapel Hill Police face down and unresponsive in his off-campus home on West Patterson Place in Chapel Hill on February 22.

Stedman reportedly had a history of substance abuse according to Dr. Samuel Simmons, with the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office in Raleigh. The autopsy also reports multiple cans of the cleaning spray were found in the room as well as one on the bed where he was found.

Additionally, the autopsy reports signs of the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam and painkiller oxycodone in Stedman’s system, for which he did not have a recent prescription. Dr. Simmons’ report says that would have increased the toxicity of the spray. Stedman also had an underlying cardiovascular disease, which Dr. Simmons says would make him more susceptible to the toxic effects.

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