Dead Kennedys’ D.H. Peligro died of ‘combined effects of fentanyl and heroin,’ coroner says

A black and white photo of D.H. Peligro in a white tank top smiling behind a drum kit.
D.H. Peligro, drummer for the Dead Kennedys, died in October 2022 at age 63.
(Dead Kennedys)

Drummer D.H. Peligro died in October due to the effects of fentanyl and heroin, the Los Angeles medical examiner determined Tuesday.

Peligro, who was a member of the San Francisco-based rock group Dead Kennedys, died in his Los Angeles home on Oct. 28, 2022. The musician — born Darren Henley — was 63.

His death was ruled an accident, according to the coroner database.


The autopsy report, obtained and reviewed Tuesday by The Times, revealed that Henley’s landlord conducted a welfare check on the drummer and found him unresponsive in the bathroom of his Los Angeles home.

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According to the report, multiple COVID-19 at-home test kits were found in Peligro’s home and a friend of the musician said Peligro was feeling short of breath two weeks prior to his death. Peligro also had a “repeated history of lung cancer,” but it was unknown if he was seeking treatment at the time of his death, the report said.

In October, the Dead Kennedys announced Peligro’s death on Instagram. According to the post, “police on the scene stated he died from trauma to the head caused by an accidental fall.” In the days following his death, Dead Kennedys remembered the drummer as “our hero.”

“I am heartbroken,” Peligro’s band mate Raymond “East Bay Ray” Pepperell wrote on Instagram.

Peligro joined the rock band as a drummer in 1981, the same year it released the eight-song EP “In God We Trust, Inc.” A year later, the drummer also played on the band’s 1982 release “Plastic Surgery Disasters.” He also went on to play on 1985’s “Frankenchrist” and 1986’s “Bedtime for Democracy.”

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He also played the drums for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1988 following drummer Jack Irons’ exit. On social media, Chili Peppers bassist Flea paid tribute to his late collaborator on Instagram.


“I’m devastated today, a river of tears, but all my life I will treasure every second,” he wrote in his caption. “The first time I saw you play with the DK’s in ‘81 you blew my mind. The power, the soul, the recklessness. You became my beloved friend, so many times of every kind.”

Flea added that Peligro was the “truest rocker” and will “live forever in our hearts.”

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Peligro released three solo records from 1995 to 2004. He also penned the 2013 memoir, “Dreadnaught: King of Afropunk.”

The Dead Kennedys held a celebration of life for Peligro in February. Attendees included Michael Jackson‘s daughter Paris Jackson, Jack Grisham of T.S.O.L., the Offspring’s Dexter Holland and Dead Kennedys’ Pepperell and Geoffrey “Klaus Flouride” Lyall.