TROY (WWJ) – Authorities investigating the death of the son of one of Detroit’s most prominent families say narcotics were found in the hotel room where he died.

Ronald Ilitch was found dead Friday afternoon at the Troy Marriott Hotel on Big Beaver Road.

Police responded to the hotel around 2:12 p.m. after receiving a 911 call from a female who said Ilitch wasn’t breathing. First responders found the 61-year-old lying face up on the floor of a hotel room. Ilitch was clearly deceased, as rigormortis had begun, according to police.

Investigators searched through the hotel room and discovered a “personal use amount of narcotics,” the majority of which were prescription narcotics, according to police.

A cause of death is still pending. An autopsy completed Saturday morning showed no apparent signs of trauma to the body. Officials say it will take some time to determine the results of a toxicology report.

Police say the woman who reported the death is an acquaintance of Ilitch’s and is cooperating with the investigation, which is ongoing.

Ilitch had his struggles with drug addiction and brushes with the law over the years. He allegedly had crack cocaine on him at The Riviera motel at McNichols and Grand River on the city’s west side during an incident that landed him in jail in 2014. Police said that Ilitch was also with a prostitute at the time.

He eventually pleaded guilty and was ordered to spend a year on probation and to undergo substance abuse treatment. At the time, he told the judge the arrest was a “big wake up call.”

His father Mike Ilitch, a beloved local figure, died almost exactly a year ago at age 87. At the time, his son Chris was appointed the head of the family empire, which includes Olympia Entertainment, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars pizza.

Chris Ilitch released a statement on his brother’s passing, saying, “On behalf of my mother Marian Ilitch and our entire family, I want to express our sadness and grief at Ron’s passing. We’re devastated about this loss, and we ask for respect of the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”


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