As tributes to George Allen continued to pour in from across the country yesterday, his son Bruce said the family did not know for certain what caused the former Redskins coach's death at his California home Monday at age 72.
"We think it was heart-related," said Bruce Allen, a sports agent in Phoenix. "He was just exhausted from the season . . . That, as much as anything, probably had something to do with it."
Allen said his father had developed a cold and bronchitis after his Long Beach State players dumped ice water on him as they celebrated a season-ending 29-20 victory over Nevada-Las Vegas on Nov. 17. He also said his father had mostly gotten over it, and was planning a trip to the beach Monday afternoon with his wife, Etty, who discovered his body when she returned home from a workout.
Allen said his father made a phone call to "help cheer up" the wheelchair-bound wife of a Long Beach State booster at 11:30 a.m. Monday. "There was a message on the answering machine at 11:32 a.m.," he said. "We think that's when it must have happened."
Allen said an autopsy would be performed "because my father would have wanted to know . . . It was a detail . . . Right now, we think it's heart-related, but we just don't know for sure."
White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said in a statement on behalf of President and Mrs. Bush that Allen "touched many lives in a profound way . . . Our nation will miss him."
A public memorial service is set for 2 p.m. PST Friday at Rolling Hills Covenant Church near Allen's home in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. The family has not decided on plans for a memorial service in Washington. In addition to his wife, Allen is survived by sons George Jr., Bruce and Gregory and daughter Jennifer.