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Heart attack killed Ch. 5 anchor Daryl Hawks

Daryl Hawks

Daryl Hawks

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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:24AM



WMAQ-Channel 5 lead sports anchor Daryl Hawks, found dead in his hotel room while covering the Chicago Bulls during the NBA playoffs, probably died of a heart attack caused by hypertension, officials said.

An autopsy performed in Atlanta after the 38-year-old anchor’s May 12 death had been inconclusive.

But further toxicology tests and microscopic examination of tissues led investigators to conclude that the cause of death likely was a heart attack due to a heart rhythm problem caused by high blood pressure, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

“The cause of death is probably cardiac dysrhythmia due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease,” investigator Tami Schroder said Thursday.

Hawks, who had been with Channel 5 since July 2008, had flown to Atlanta on May 11 to cover Game 6 of the Bulls-Hawks NBA playoff series.

He was found unresponsive by hotel employees the next morning.

Hawks left behind a wife and three children.

His death came nine years after another Channel 5 lead sports anchor, Darrian Chapman, died at 37, collapsing from a heart attack while playing hockey in October 2002. Chapman’s cause of death was cardiac sarcoidosis.

Hawk’s cause of death, cardiac dysrhythmia, also known as arrhythmia, is a condition involving abnormal electrical activity in the heart. It can cause the heart to beat too fast or slow or irregularly.

“Essentially, it’s when the heart misfires, due to damage from high blood pressure,” Schroder said.

Some arrhythmia cause non-life-threatening symptoms such as palpitations. Other arrhythmias cause cardiac arrest and sudden death.

Still others may produce no symptoms but may predispose a person to a stroke or an embolism.

Hypertension, a condition causing high pressure in the arteries, can be present for several years without detection because it usually has no symptoms.

Consequences may become apparent only after many years, during which time it can cause damage to the heart’s tiny blood vessels.

Hawks appeared a picture of health, a former Marine and running back who briefly played semipro football with the Lockport (N.Y.) Invaders, and regularly played football, basketball and golf.

“I work out everyday, other than spending time with my family, it’s what I love doing most,” Hawks wrote in his NBC5 biography.



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