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Scaling New Heights
William Nack
November 17, 1986
Laffit Pincay has shed the weight of tragedy and is back on course
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November 17, 1986

Scaling New Heights

Laffit Pincay has shed the weight of tragedy and is back on course

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In the clubhouse, Pincay found his closest friend, Panamanian-born trainer Humberto Aguilera, and together they raced in Pincay's Mercedes to his home in Los Feliz. By now, the sense of shock had given way to anger. Linda had promised him that she would never again try to kill herself. Pincay knew of three occasions on which she had tried to end her life. One was before they met. After they were married, she had twice taken overdoses of Valium, but after the second attempt she had told him, "I don't know how I could have done that. If I had died, I would have missed so much because I love my kids so much. I promise you I will never, never do anything like that again."

In the car that day, by the time Aguilera got around to asking what was wrong, Pincay had already dismissed what his daughter had told him on the phone. "It was like my mind wouldn't accept this," he says. "I completely put what Lisa told me out of my mind. I twisted it around." Pincay told Aguilera. "I think Linda did something to herself in the house. She took some pills."

Aguilera knew it was more than pills when they got to the house. "There were six police cars," he says. And he felt a sense of foreboding when an officer approached Pincay and said, "There has been an accident here. We've sent your wife to the hospital."

"Is she O.K.?" asked Pincay.

The officer hesitated, then said, "We've sent her to the hospital."

At Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center a doctor took Pincay and Aguilera into a small room and asked the rider, "Do you know what's happened?"

"Is she all right?" Pincay asked.

"Your wife shot herself in the head," the doctor said. "She has no chance. Neurologically, she is dead. We have her on a life-support system."

Pincay slumped forward, weeping. Moments later, a nurse with a dismal sense of timing came into the room. "Mr. Pincay," she said, "we know this is a tough question to ask, but are you willing to donate her eyes or any of her organs to the hospital?"

Pincay said, "I can't answer right now...I want another neurologist to see her." Another did. Two days later, on Jan. 20, Pincay agreed to take his wife off the life-support system. She died that day.

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