An autopsy conducted on the body of Zeke Upshaw, the NBA G League player who died Monday after collapsing on the court during a game Saturday night, showed that he died of “sudden cardiac death” and had “cardiac abnormalities,” according to the Grand Rapids, Mich., medical examiner.
“We did an autopsy [Tuesday]. It’s my opinion that it’s a cardiac death,” Dr. Stephen Cohle, medical examiner for Kent County, Mich., told WOOD-TV. “I think he died a sudden cardiac death.”
Upshaw, a 26-year-old swingman for the Grand Rapids Drive, also had a “slightly enlarged” heart, which Cohle said is not entirely unusual in athletes and may have been unrelated to his death.
“There were some cardiac abnormalities that I hope to clarify by looking at the tissue slides,” Cohle said. “I’m going to try to characterize the exact type of heart disease microscopically.”
Cohle said that Upshaw’s mother, Jewel, said she knew of no personal or family history of heart conditions, and Cohle indicated that it may take a few weeks to continue the medical investigation.
“Further studies — mainly, including the microscopic examination of the heart tissue — will be forthcoming,” Cohle said. “There’s some heart diseases that you can look at them the day of the autopsy, you can look at the heart and say, ‘This guy died of a blocked coronary artery,’ or, ‘This guy died of a ruptured aorta.’ This is not one of those.”
Upshaw will be buried Saturday in the Chicago area.
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