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B.C. COVID-denier had illness but died of drug overdose, coroner says

Makhan Singh Parhar speaks to media outside a B.C. courthouse on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. Makhan Singh Parhar speaks to media outside a B.C. courthouse on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.
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A report from British Columbia's coroner says a prominent anti-vaccine and COVID critic died in 2021 of a drug overdose, although he also tested positive for the illness post-mortem.

The report says Mak Parhar was found by a family member unresponsive in the bathroom of his New Westminster home on Nov. 4, 2021.

Coroner Damian Balam's report into the death says Parhar was found lying on the floor with drug paraphernalia including a syringe, a glass pipe and a burnt spoon nearby.

Balam's report says Parhar had ethanol, cocaine and fentanyl in his system at the time of death, ruling it accidental due to “mixed illicit drug toxicity.”

The report also says Parhar had COVID-19 at the time of his death, though the coroner found it played no role.

Parhar, an anti-vaccine and flat Earth conspiracy theorist, came to prominence during the pandemic using social media and in-person appearances at protests to amplify his views.

“Mr. Parhar had an uncomplicated medical history,” the coroner's report says. “There was no recent documented history of problems with substance use, hospitalization or prior opioid agonist treatment.”

Parhar's death occurred soon after he shared a video online where he admitted to having COVID-like symptoms, but denied having “CONVID” and said he was treating himself with over-the-counter medications.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2023.

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