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Autopsy Is Finalized

July 17, 2002|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Darryl Kile died from a blockage of the arteries supplying the heart, and there was no evidence that drugs contributed to his death, Cook County's coroner said Tuesday.

"This is a natural cause of death," Edmund Donoghue, the county's chief medical examiner, said in a statement.

Toxicology tests did show evidence of marijuana use, although it was probably weeks before and was not a factor in Kile's death, Donoghue said.

Tests were negative on steroids, alcohol, cocaine and ephedrine, a substance commonly found in dietary supplements banned by some sports.

Kile, 33, had a 90% blockage in two of three coronary arteries, Donoghue said, confirming his preliminary analysis shortly after the death.

He also had an enlarged heart and a blood clot in one of the coronary arteries.

Donoghue said the artery blockage likely triggered a fatal irregular heartbeat.

A substance believed to be marijuana was found in the hotel room. Police never tested the material because there was no criminal case to pursue and it did not contribute to his death.

Kile's heart condition, called coronary atherosclerosis, is commonly known as hardening of the arteries.

Dr. Thomas Levin, a cardiologist at Christ Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Chicago, said all the indicators are that Kile had advanced heart disease.

"It implies that this was a chronic problem. It didn't just come up overnight," Levin said.

He said such a condition in someone so young was "unusual but not unheard of."

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