Doctor cleared in suicide of LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg

Dr. Thomas Hess is cleared of wrongful death allegations in the suicide of LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg

A Las Vegas physician has been cleared of wrongful death and medical malpractice allegations in a civil suit arising from the suicide four years ago of LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg.

The 25-year-old Blasberg, a native of Corona, had fallen on hard times and was allegedly troubled by her relationship with the defendant, Dr. Thomas Hess, when she took her life in May 2010.

During the trial, Hess -- who is now 46 -- acknowledged flirting with the younger golfer but denied they were ever romantic. A Nevada jury found him not liable for her death after five days of testimony.

Blasberg's father, who was also her coach, has long blamed Hess.

"We had a doctor much older than my daughter, who got involved with my daughter, and he crossed the line, and it affected my daughter," Mel Blasberg told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "That's why we came here, not for money, but to let the world know there was more to what happened than Erica committing suicide."

The photogenic Blasberg won about $300,000 during her first four seasons on the LPGA Tour and attracted endorsements. But a less-successful 2009 season landed her back at qualifying school, where she fell ill and was depressed about playing poorly.

"The worst year of her golf life," her father told the Times in 2010. "Just horrible. Nothing was right."

That spring she took a variety of pills and used rubber bands to secure a plastic bag over her head. The medications had been prescribed by her psychiatrist, a defense attorney said.

Hess found Blasberg dead in the bedroom of her Henderson, Nev., home.

In December 2010 the family doctor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction of justice charge for removing a suicide note and some medications from the scene.

The suicide note reportedly said: "I blame no one for the drugs I take this evening."

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