Coroner's Report Reveals New Details in Hodad's Owner's Death

A coroner’s report obtained by NBC 7 Investigates Monday reveals new details about the sudden death of Hodad’s burger joint owner Mike “Bossman” Hardin.

The beloved Ocean Beach resident died from a heart attack at a central California hotel on Feb. 5, brought on by an enlarged heart and severe coronary artery disease, according to a report from the Madera County Coroner’s Office.

The forensic pathologist who examined Hardin found one of his arteries was filled at least 75 percent with plaque. He also discovered evidence of a previous heart attack, as well as lung and liver problems.

According to a Madera County Sheriff’s Office report, the front desk clerk at the Chowchilla Holiday Inn told investigators Hardin was supposed to check out at 11 a.m. on Feb. 5, but by 1:30 p.m., no one had heard from him.

Thinking Hardin had left without checking out, the woman sent maintenance employees to the room, which they found locked with the metal latch. The front desk worker used a special tool to unhook it, and she saw Hardin sitting on the couch, unmoving.

She quickly called 911. During their investigation, deputies found marijuana, pot paraphernalia, a half-full jar of “moonshine” alcohol and over-the-counter medication in Hardin’s hotel room. None of these substances contributed to the 54-year-old’s death, according to the coroner’s report.

Hardin, known for his kindness and generosity, became most famous for his burgers, thanks in part to appearances on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dive.”

He lived in San Diego since 1960 and took over Hodad’s in the 80s from his parents. Under his leadership, the restaurant expanded to new locations in downtown San Diego and Petco Park.

Dubbed the “unofficial mayor of Ocean Beach,” Hardin’s death was mourned by hundreds in San Diego, who crowded into Petco Park in March to celebrate his life.

Contact Us