A man who gained fame for spending thousands of dollars on plastic surgery in a bid to look like pop star Justin Bieber died last year from a lethal mix of pain killers, alcohol and anti-anxiety medicine, authorities said.
Tobias M. Strebel, better known as Toby Sheldon, was found dead Aug. 21, 2015, in a Motel 6 along Roscoe Boulevard in North Hills, according to an autopsy report issued Monday by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
Strebel, 35, had been reported missing more than three days before his body was found.
When paramedics responded to the room, they found Strebel’s partly decomposed body, with some maggots around his head and neck. He was found with his arms outstretched and lying across the foot of the bed, according to the report.
A desk inside the motel room had bottles labeled “vitamin C,” although the bottles contained diazapam, which is used to treat anxiety and seizures, as well as temazepam, a sedative used to treat insomnia. An insulin bottle and syringes were also in the room, according to the report.
Lab tests showed Xanax, Valium, and Ativan in his liver, along with codeine and morphine.
Analysis of Strebel’s death has been marked by delays. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office said last year that it had not conclusively identified the body as Strebel’s, partly because of difficulties reaching his mother in Germany and the decomposed state of his body.
The toxicology report was not signed off on until May 19 — nearly 10 months after his death.
Strebel, a native of Nuremberg, Germany, came alone to the U.S. to pursue a songwriting career, according to his manager, Gina Rodriguez.
Although he admitted to undergoing hair transplants starting in 2004, most of which failed, he said, his plastic surgery exploits didn’t appear to ramp up until after 2008, when Bieber skyrocketed to fame.
“I didn’t necessarily listen to his music or fawn over him as a celebrity, but his face was just so flawless; every change I made was modeled after him,” Strebel told the Daily Mail in 2012.
In addition to working as a Bieber lookalike, he was employed at a nursing home in Inglewood.
“For all the slings and arrows put forth against him, he always held his head high,” Rodriguez said of Strebel after his death. “He had a genuine talent and love for songwriting and it showed in everything he did.”
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