There was so much of note in Friday's powerful hourlong E60 documentary of the life and death of Roy Halladay. Heartbreaking recollections from his widow, Brandy, troubling details of his addiction to prescription opioids, and the valuable lesson that hopefully can come from such a painful tragedy.
"I just wanted him to slow down," Brandy said.
"Roy had none," she said of the balance in his life at points.
"He didn't feel he had the luxury of making mistakes, he was truly tormented."
How Halladay's opioid addiction began
Halladay popped his back during the 2011 season and pitched through it. He pitched through pain the night the Phillies' playoff hopes ended in a gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS after a franchise-record 102 regular-season wins.
Brandy told a story of Roy experiencing such back pain that he once fell down sneezing around that time.
Halladay began taking prescription opioids in the spring of 2012, obtaining them by paying cash to a doctor in Florida who was recommended to him by a Phillies teammate.
"He was continuing to hurt himself, and the more he hurt himself, the more dependent he would be on medication," Brandy said. "He was breaking his back. He actually shrunk three inches from compression in his spine. That's insane."
Former teammate and pupil Kyle Kendrick, who looked up to Halladay as a role model and mentor, noticed that something wasn't right.
"At his locker, I was right next to him. You'd try to talk to him and you'd feel like he wasn't there," Kendrick said. "As a friend, I felt like I should say something. I felt like he might need help. A teammate and I said something to someone who worked for the team."
The teammate confronted Halladay about his drug use during the 2013 season but nothing changed.
Fear of public scrutiny
Halladay's body became dependent on the medications to function. All the while, he privately dealt with the fear of others finding out. He was tormented by the potential public scrutiny.
"Everybody should be able to ask for help and they shouldn't be looked down on and judged for that," Brandy said several times throughout the documentary. If there is one lesson to be learned from this tragedy, it is that.
Roy Halladay went to rehab for his painkiller addiction during the 2013 season, his final year in the majors. Many Phillies fans will remember the stress-filled, sweat-soaked 13 starts Halladay made that final year. At times, that was a reaction to the medication in his system.
He left rehab early, Brandy said, because he had been recognized and someone had snuck a phone into the facility. Roy was nervous about word of his stint in rehab leaking out.
The struggle to find a purpose
After retirement, in the years before Halladay recaptured some of his joy and passion by coaching his sons' baseball teams, Roy "stopped taking care of himself, inside and out," according to Brandy. His weight rose to over 300 pounds at one point in retirement, then down to 205 at another.
He reentered rehab in January 2015 for the painkiller addiction and was there three months. When he returned home, he began seeing a psychiatrist and was formally diagnosed with ADD, depression and anxiety.
In retirement, Halladay struggled to find a purpose.
"He was lost, he didn't know what to do with himself," Brandy said. "Flying was therapeutic."
Doc's days in the air
The circumstances of Halladay's death were documented in a 2018 toxicology report and in a report from the National Transportation Safety Board last month. He had Zolpidem, amphetamine and morphine in his system at the time he crashed his Icon A5 plane into the Gulf of Mexico. According to the NTSB report, Halladay was doing extreme acrobatics when he lost control.
Halladay received his pilot's license in 2013. He had spent much time in the air with his father, Roy II, a pilot, from a young age, and had accrued more than 700 flying hours himself before the crash.
"He was an excellent pilot," Roy II said of his son. "Mechanically, his skills were very good. He kept working for additional ratings."
Yet still, Brandy didn't feel it was totally safe.
"He was trying to fill this void by buying boats and planes and cars and shoes," she said. "Roy was an adrenaline guy, he was always looking for that rush."
When Roy got his Icon A5, a plane that made him feel like he was flying a fighter jet, "he was so excited, he couldn't control himself," Brandy said.
"My concern was after he got the (Icon A5), he kept talking about how sporty it was, how much of a sports car it was," his father said. "I said be careful with it."
Halladay died 35 days after getting the Icon A5. According to the NTSB report, he frequently flew at low altitudes in shallow water and flew underneath a bridge in Tampa with Brandy on board 12 days before the fatal crash.
On the day of the crash, he and Brandy were supposed to see one of their sons' band perform at a school concert. Roy told Brandy he'd return the Icon A5 to the airport and meet her there. He texted her while she was driving, "I'm so sorry, I should have just gone with you, another wasted day." Instead of flying north to the airport, he had flown west to the Gulf of Mexico where the crash occurred.
"I had so much more in the future I wanted for us and it was hard to know that it was just done," Brandy Halladay said.
"I know in my heart it was an accident. I want to make sure that people understand that he was just a man. Perfect, I hate that word, perfect. I just want him to be Roy. I hope somebody hears our story and says, 'Wow, I'm going to ask for help.'"
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