Trevor Tice Update: No Foul Play in Tragic Death of CorePower Yoga Founder
Update: A medical examiner has determined that the cause of CorePower Yoga founder and Denver business legend Trevor Tice's mysterious December death inside his San Diego home was accidental. It's believed that the bloody head trauma that killed him came as a result of falls that took place while he was under the influence of alcohol and assorted anti-depressants.
In our original coverage (see it below), we note that authorities originally deemed Tice's death as "suspicious" due to the presence of broken glass and a blood trail, among other clues. But deputy medical examiner Steven C. Campman believes that no foul play was involved.
The autopsy report penned by Campman and also shared here cites police documents and other sources when describing Tice as "a 48-year-old man whose medical history was significant for alcohol and prescription drug abuse. He was last known to be alive on December 9, 2016, when he was seen to exit an Uber ride in front of his residence, stumbling, and he stumbled into a passerby walking her dog, and then fell face first into an ornamental palm tree."
The autopsy's narrative adds that "on the morning of December 12, the mother of [Tice's] child became concerned after she had been unable to reach him by telephone. A friend went to the residence and got no response at the door, and the friend asked a contractor that was at the residence to help check on him. The contractor entered, saw blood in the residence, and exited, and 911 was called. Police responded and the decedent was found prone on the floor at the edge of a home office, and his death was confirmed. There was blood on the beds in two of the rooms, on a sofa in the office, and on the floor in the kitchen and dining areas."
Postmortem toxicological studies showed that Tice had a blood-alcohol level of .20 percent, more than double the standard for drunk driving. (Note that alcohol is referred to as "ethanol" in the document.) He also tested positive for two anti-depressants — amitriptyline and nortriptyline — as well as nordiazepam, an anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family.
Campman's conclusion reads: "Based on these findings and the history and circumstances of the death as currently known, including the appearance of the death scene, it appears likely that the decedent fell and struck his head on more than one occasion, apparently while intoxicated with alcohol; resting on the beds and the sofa, until he fell or collapsed again. His immediate cause of death was his head injuries (blood loss from the facial lacerations, as well as subdural hemorrhage and cerebral contusions).... Therefore, the cause of death is best listed as 'blunt force head trauma' with 'hepatic steatosis' listed as a contributing condition, and the manner of death as 'accident.'"
Continue to see the complete autopsy report, followed by our previous post, which outlines the way Tice built a single Denver yoga study into a national fitness empire and highlights memories and tributes from those who knew him during his Colorado days.
Original post, 5:40 a.m. December 14, 2016: Thanks to founder and Telluride native Trevor Tice, CorePower Yoga became one of the great success stories in recent Denver business history. Starting with a single studio on Grant Street that opened in 2002, Tice built CorePower into a national powerhouse with around 160 branches across the U.S.
But on Monday, December 12, Tice, 48, was found dead in his San Diego home under circumstances the police see as potentially suspicious.
In his 2014 feature about fallen guru John Friend, Westword contributor Joel Warner noted that "the Denver-Boulder area has blossomed into one of the country's yoga hot spots, home to some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Gaiam, a major yoga-products company based in Louisville; the Hanuman Festival, an annual yoga event in Boulder; and CorePower Yoga, a Denver company that's angling to become the first national yoga-studio chain."
Yet even as CorePower — a blend of power yoga, Ashtanga vinyasa yoga and Bikram yoga offered in heated and non-heated styles — grew beyond its Denver base of operations (its headquarters is in RiNo), the company continued to be involved in the community. Witness its role in the huge Yoga in the City event, which we covered back in 2010.
As for Tice, he sought to stay connected with the CorePower faithful, as witnessed by the following holiday letter, which he shared on the company's website in 2009.
As I dwell in reflection on the past year, I find myself overwhelmed with a sense of love, gratitude and joy. Wherever I travel, I am welcomed by smiling faces that radiate benevolence and light; passionate people committed to improving their own lives and the world around them through the practice of yoga...on and off the mat. I am continually inspired by and thankful for each of you and for the amazing yoga community you have helped us create.
At times, it feels as though our world is awash in turmoil and it remains CorePower's mission to provide a reprieve from the chaos that surrounds us. We are committed to sharing our authentic passion for yoga, healthy living and community to inspire people to live their most extraordinary life while making the world a better place for all.
As an organization, we are firmly committed to growth and excellence in everything we do. Your feedback is invaluable and never taken lightly. Please continue to share your inspirational stories of transformation and any ideas or feedback on how we can better serve you and the yoga community as a whole.
Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your loyalty to CorePower Yoga. Best wishes to you and your family for health, happiness and prosperity in the holiday season and throughout the coming new year.
On behalf of everyone at CorePower Yoga, Happy Holidays.
Founder and CEO of CorePower Yoga
As for what led to Tice's death, investigators have made little information public thus far, and they have not yet defined what took place as a crime — though they're leaving that possibility open.
More details come from ABC10 in San Diego, which quotes a neighbor of Tice's in the exclusive Sunset Cliffs area as saying that his two French bulldogs were left outside over the weekend. They could be heard barking "constantly and loudly."
The home had been undergoing extensive renovation for months, and on Monday, a contractor visiting the property noticed broken glass and blood, ABC10 reveals. After following the blood trail, the contractor notified authorities.
Yesterday, the following post was shared on the Facebook page of CorePower's north Denver location under the heading "feeling heartbroken:"
We are deeply saddened to confirm that our CorePower Yoga founder, Trevor Tice, passed away on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016.
CorePower Yoga is a manifestation of the best Trevor brought to the world: boundless energy, an electric smile, an immutable desire to improve. Trevor contributed more to the world than most dare to dream — and we will forever live in a more joyful, more peaceful, and fundamentally better place because Trevor Tice was part of it.
Together, our community is grieving this tragic loss and honoring Trevor’s tremendous legacy.
Also taking to Facebook were a slew of local CorePower enthusiasts, who wrote about their personal memories of Tice. Here's one example....
In another lifetime when I was 22, I was a new Denver transplant, and was just hoping for a not awful job (as a nil-experience design student in a shit economy) that would cover rent ($345 for a room three blocks off Wash Park if you can believe it...) and leave enough time in my schedule to fit in my daily obsession with my yoga practice.
What I stumbled on was a community/job that carried me swiftly through my 20's and was integral in my career being what it is today: from working at the little HQ on Zuni, teaching a zillion yoga classes a week during grad school (Saturday mornings at Cherry Hills, I still miss you), commuting to Boulder (when NOBO was only one room!), co-leading teacher trainings, and learning the ins-and-outs (and there were a lot of outs) of a booming yoga industry.
My first memory of Trevor was when his pug (chihuahua?) had an upset stomach during a meeting because he fed him flank steak for breakfast. I can still hear the resounding echo of my eye roll.
I would not be doing the work I am today in nearly the same way without Trevor's vision and drive. I am deeply saddened by this news and am inspired to continue cultivating community through yoga in the most authentic way I know how.
...and a second....
Trevor was in the thick of yoga back in The Day. I also visited him in Denver and saw the energy he put out. We woke up at 4 a.m to do yoga in the street for a Good Morning TV show and then spent the day training teachers. I wish him peace.
...and a third:
I met Trevor Tice in 2001 when he was just getting Corepower Yoga off the ground. He was smart, thorough and enthusiastic. I stayed at his house in Denver and saw firsthand how much work he put in between 5-7 am each morning. Over the years, his work touched countless lives. I learned today that his has been cut short. Rest In Peace and thanks for all you did for so many people who never knew your name. Namaste friend.
The investigation into Tice's death is ongoing at this writing.