Autopsy finds blocked coronary arteryPosted: Sunday June 23, 2002 4:27 PM
Updated: Tuesday June 25, 2002 4:30 PM
Dr. Edmund Donoghue said initial findings of an autopsy showed Kile had "80-to 90 percent narrowing of two of the three branches of the coronary artery."
Donoghue said the blockage was the "likely cause of death."
Donoghue said Kile had dinner with his brother, Daniel, on Friday night and had complained of shoulder pain and feeling weak.
The state of Illinois requires that medical examiners list a primary cause of death followed by two contributing factors. Donoghue told Sports Illustrated's Lester Munson that if he were filling out a death certficate Sunday, he would "list atherosclerosis as the primary cause and ... leave the other two blank."
Munson said a "pending death certificate" had been issued so that Kile's body could be taken home.
The official autopsy findings, including a toxicology report, will be made official in four to six weeks, Donoghue said.
Munson reports that a substance that appeared to be marijuana was found in Kile's room, but that there was no way to immediately determine whether Kile had used drugs of any kind in the hours preceding his death. Regardless, Donoghue said, "If it is marijuana, it had nothing to do with his death."
Kile, 33, was found dead in the team hotel Saturday. Police said there were no signs of forced entry and no signs of foul play.
The condition, called coronary atherosclerosis, is commonly known as hardening of the arteries. It is unusual in a 33-year-old man, Donoghue said, but "it is not impossible."
Kile's father died shortly after a heart attack in his mid-40s in 1993.
Dr. Jim Loomis, the Cardinals' assistant team physician, said Saturday that the 6-foot-5 pitcher had no known health problems and was not on medication.
About two hours before Saturday's game against the Cubs was scheduled to begin, Cardinals players realized Kile was not at the ballpark and called the hotel to ask that he be checked on.
Workers at the downtown Westin Hotel forced their way into Kile's 11th-floor room because of the safety latch on the door.
Saturday's game between the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs was postponed. Later that night, the Cardinals unanimously voted at a team meeting to play Sunday night in Kile's honor.
Kile's name and No. 57 were displayed on the marquee outside Wrigley Field and on the scoreboard inside the park Sunday.
The U.S. flag was at half-mast, and all music except the national anthem was canceled. There was to be a moment of silence for Kile before the national anthem.
There were to be no public address announcements during the game except for players coming to bat and lineup changes.
The Cubs also canceled usual festivities such as honorary first
pitches and the traditional singing of Take Me Out to the Ball