The role that steroids played in Harry Gordon III’s death is black and white, written write on his death certificateÂ “Cardiac hypertrophy associated with anabolic steroid abuse” was his official cause of death, according to the death certificate.
Gordon loved sports that focused onÂ individualÂ achievements, such asÂ bicyclingÂ and motorcycle racing. And while they can be dangerous, the proved to be no where as dangerous as the last sport that Gordon would choose, bodybuilding.
After joining a new gym, Gordon’s parents noticed the signs of steroid abuse. He had gained 50 pounds in two months, began unsual balding, and was quicker to anger. His father, Harry Jr confronted his son about these changes:
“I said once, ‘Harry, you don’t remember this guy, but there was a pro football player named Lyle Alzado, and he took steroids and he died from them,'” Harry Jr. said, referring to the former NFL lineman who died in 1992 of brain cancer associated with longtime steroid use. “I told him, ‘Before he died, he went on public television and told the young kids not to take them.’ All I ever heard was, ‘Dad, don’t worry.’”
But those who loved Harry didn’t let the issue disappear, and kept pressing for more information.
“The family, including his sister Amanda, kept pressing him for information, and Harry eventually admitted he was using steroids. Then Harry’s girlfriend found them in his bedroom, Amanda said. Syringes, liquid in a small bottle, pills. She threw them away, so Harry began hiding them in Amanda’s room, in a clothesbasket in the back of her closet.”
It wasn’t long after, onÂ Oct. 26, 2002, that Harry died in his sleep. He was only 20 years old. His parents tried to prosecute whoever was responsible for supplying their son with the steroids that took his life, but no one was ever found to be connected. His family was left without a son, and no answers.
“I didn’t think it was that serious at first,” Harry Jr. said. “I didn’t know how much he was using and if he was in that much danger. I thought it was a fad and eventually he’d stop. Knowing what I know now, I would have done anything to have saved him from what happened.”
Now, Harry Jr. remembers his son by going to his gravesite every other day, lighting a candle that serves to remember the passion that Harry III attacked life.
“I’ll keep doing it as long as I live,” Harry Jr. said. “It’s the very least I can do for him.”
Harry’s parents didn’t know the severity of the issue until it was too late. If you’ve seen signs of your child (or even someone else’s child), educate yourself on the signs of steroid abuse. No teenager or young adult needs to face the dangers that steroids bring. Step up as a parent or educator and tackle the tough issues. The difference could literally be life or death. Visit our Talk to Kids About Steroids page to learn more.