A gay former basketball player who was found dead on a Castro area sidewalk last August died of a meth overdose, the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office says in a recently completed report.
Wesley Cuyler, 31, whom an ex-partner described as “the sweetest, nicest kid in the world,” was found unresponsive outside what was then the vacant Leticia’s restaurant, 2200 Market Street (at 15th Street).
Bobby Blair, 48, Cuyler’s former partner, said his ex, who was HIV-positive and homeless when he died, had used methamphetamine for years.
But Cuyler’s family, including his parents, were supportive of him, and he’d been just days away from returning to Winter Haven, Florida, where he was from originally, Blair said.
“It wasn’t like he was an abandoned guy,” said Blair, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He last heard from Cuyler three days before he died.
“His sister was excited,” Blair said. “… We really thought maybe there was a chance of saving him, and we missed it by just a few days.”
According to the medical examiner’s report, which was released last week, Cuyler was found August 4, 2012. People saw him lying unresponsive on the sidewalk, surrounded by needles, and called police. Paramedics determined he was beyond resuscitation, and he was pronounced dead at about 8 a.m.
Cuyler, who was covered in a yellow emergency blanket, had “old track marks” on his arms and knuckles, and there was “drug residue” at the scene, according to the medical examiner’s report. Among his possessions were a backpack, two cellphones, and $40. He also had heart medications with him, but they didn’t appear to be abused.
The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be “acute methamphetamine intoxication.” Cuyler’s death was categorized as accidental.
Along with HIV, Cuyler also had a history of congestive heart failure, the city’s report says, citing medical records. Blair said his ex-partner was open about his HIV status.
Top basketball player
“He was one of the top high school basketball players in the state of Florida,” and Cuyler eventually played in the Gay Games in Sydney, Australia, he said. (Cuyler had a tattoo of Bugs Bunny with a basketball on the words “Pure Magic” on his right arm, according to the medical examiner’s office).
The two fell in love, and in 2001, they moved to the South Beach are of Miami Beach.
“I started traveling a lot to Atlanta, and he would stay down in South Beach,” said Blair, who worked in real estate at the time. Cuyler, who’d also gotten involved with the real estate business, started going out to clubs and hanging out with people who were doing crystal meth.
“He really, really developed a problem,” Blair said. They both moved to Atlanta, but “unfortunately, he just didn’t stop,” and Blair started having doubts about their relationship. They broke up in 2003. Cuyler moved to California in 2006.
In the years that followed, his life disintegrated, and Blair said he was homeless when he died, although the medical examiner’s office lists a Henry Street address for Cuyler. A friend had paid for a hotel stay the night before he died, but told Cuyler, “I can’t keep doing this,” Blair said.
Cuyler had been hospitalized for pneumonia a few weeks before his death, and Blair suspects he wasn’t been taking his HIV medications.
“He was so disheveled,” Blair said. “He didn’t have any stability in this life.
However, he added, “I can assure you he did not want to die.”
Not long before his death, Cuyler sent Blair a message that said, “Thank you for a sweet life.”
Blair said his former partner’s death is “a great example” of what meth can do to a person. When they’d first met, Cuyler had been goal oriented, and had high grades, he said.
“He had every opportunity in the world to have a happy, successful, stable life, and the crystal meth drug ripped him so hard, and would not let go,” Blair said.
Leticia’s, where Cuyler’s body was found, has been demolished, and a mixed residential and commercial building is now going up in its place.