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EXCLUSIVE: Billy Mays On Xanax At Time Of Death

Jun. 28 2009, Updated 6:20 a.m. ET

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TV pitchman Billy Mays was terrified over the prospect of his third hip replacement surgery when he died suddenly in his sleep.

"He was taking Xanax to keep him calm and pain medication but he was terribly frightened and anxious about the upcoming surgery," said a source close to Mays.

Mays' surgery was scheduled for Monday (June 29). He flew to his home in Odessa, Fl, Saturday (June 27) from Philadelphia where he had shot yet another of his famous TV sales ads. 

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The flight on U.S. Air wasn't pleasant. The plane blew two front tires on landing in Tampa and skidded to a halt. Mays was one of several passengers struck in the head by items that fell from overhang units.

"It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head," Mays told a local TV station before returning home.

His wife, Deborah, found him dead when she awakened this morning.

Mays underwent hip replacement surgery last year but the recovery did not go smoothly. He had surgery again in January but wasn't healing correctly.

Saturday, Mays wrote on his Twitter website, "Getting ready to fly back to Tampa from Philly.  Monday is the big day (hip replacement no. 3) Keep you posted."

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