BURBANK (CBSLA.com) — Dr. Anil Bhandari of Good Samaritan Hospital has a theory on what he believes is Alan Thicke’s real cause of death.

It was on a Burbank hockey rink where Thicke collapsed. He later died at the hospital. While Dr. Bhandari says Thicke may have had a heart attack, he believes the 69-year-old “Growing Pains” star likely suffered from sudden cardiac death because his heart was beating too fast.

“Sudden death may result from a heart attack but fully half of the patients with sudden death do not have a heart attack,” Bhandari said.

Dr. Bhandari says there may have been a very small window of time for Thicke to have gotten help. The symptoms are often missed.

“It could be as minor as nausea, stomach discomfort, minor chest pressure, palpitations. It’s only one out of 10 that get saved, so the time to intervene is before it happens,” said Bhandari.

Thicke’s publicist tells CBS News the star died from a heart attack. The famous sitcom dad was awake and joking with his son before he was rushed away by paramedics. At the rink where he often played, folks are still stunned.

“It’s very sad. I never knew the guy personally,” said hockey dad Ara Martirosyan. “We knew who he was and what he has done. He was very athletic. He was trying to stay in shape.”

The doctor said everyone at the hockey rink likely did the right thing during the emergency.


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