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PASSINGS: Ron Springs, Mel Queen, Beverly DiTomaso

Ron Springs, former Dallas Cowboys running back, dies at 54; Mel Queen, pitcher for the Angels and a coach for the Blue Jays, dies at 69; Beverly DiTomaso, former San Fernando councilwoman, dies at 78

May 14, 2011
  • Ron Springs, right, died of a heart attack after slipping into a coma in 2007 following surgery.
Ron Springs, right, died of a heart attack after slipping into a coma in 2007… (Associated Press )

Ron Springs

Former Cowboys running back

Ron Springs, 54, a former Dallas Cowboys running back who had been in a coma since 2007, died Thursday at Medical City Dallas Hospital, said former Cowboys teammate Everson Walls, who donated a kidney to Springs for a transplant. The cause of death was a heart attack, according to the Cowboys' website.

The hospital is where Springs slipped into a coma after undergoing surgery to remove a cyst from his forearm about seven months after receiving the kidney.

In 2008, Springs' wife, Adriane, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against two doctors she said caused brain damage to her husband during the surgery. The case is pending.

"Ron's life will always be remembered by the joy and laughter that he brought to others and the courage and toughness he displayed until the end," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement.

Springs had diabetes for 20 years, which not only caused his kidney failure but also led to the amputation of his right foot and two toes on his left foot and caused his hands to curl into knots.

He also needed a wheelchair and dialysis three times a week before receiving the transplant.

Ronald Edward Springs was born Nov. 4, 1956, in Williamsburg, Va. He was drafted by Dallas out of Ohio State in 1979. Springs left Dallas after the 1984 season and played two years in Tampa Bay.

Mel Queen

Angels pitcher, Blue Jays coach

Mel Queen, 69, who pitched for the Angels and was an outfielder and pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds before working for the Toronto Blue Jays in a variety of roles, including pitching coach, died Friday, the Blue Jays announced. No other details were given.

Queen played for the Reds from 1964 to 1969 and the Angels from 1970 to 1972.

In his four seasons as pitching coach, Toronto pitchers won three Cy Young Awards: Pat Hentgen in 1996 and Roger Clemens in 1997 and '98. Queen was the team's interim manager for the final five games of the 1997 season. He returned to the Blue Jays in 2008 as a senior advisor to the player development department.

Melvin Douglas Queen was born March 26, 1942, in Johnson City, N.Y. His father, also named Mel, pitched for the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1942-52.

Beverly DiTomaso, a former San Fernando city councilwoman, died April 25 at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills after a sudden illness, her family said. She was 78.

— Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

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