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MOTHER REJECTS BONO DRUG CLAIMS

The mother of Sonny Bono has denounced as a "big lie" claims by his widow that the former congressman's death last winter in a skiing accident was caused by his use of prescription drugs.

Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif., who has since been elected to her late husband's seat in Congress, said he was taking 15 to 20 pills a day, all prescribed by doctors, that impaired his judgment on the day that he crashed into a tree while skiing.

But Jean Bono, Bono's 84-year-old mother, disagreed and lashed out at her daughter-in-law.

"The whole thing is a big lie," she said. "He was not what she's painting him out to be. He was a good man. He brought her up to where she is, and she's trashing him in return."

Bono died in January at age 62 when he hit a tree while skiing in the Sierra Nevadas. He had been taking prescription drugs for chronic back pain and neck problems, his widow said.

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