LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) – Actor Alan Thicke died at age 69 of a ruptured aorta, according to the official death certificate released Wednesday.
Thicke collapsed while playing pickup hockey Dec. 13 at the Pickwick Gardens ice skating rink in Burbank. Entertainment Tonight reports ee was rushed to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where, according to his death certificate, a median sternotomy was performed, in which an incision is made in the sternum to provide access to the heart and lungs.
Thicke did not survive the procedure and passed away that same afternoon, ET said. His cause of death was determined by a doctor and no autopsy was performed. Thicke’s aorta ruptured about three hours after it first developed a tear, the death certificate states. The aorta is the main artery that carries blood from the heart to other parts of the body.
He was buried Monday in Santa Barbara. Tanya Thicke recalled her “beloved husband, soul mate and the patriarch of our family” in a statement Tuesday.
“It is with gut wrenching sadness and unbelievable grief that I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of love and support during this unimaginable time,” she wrote.
Dr. Lawrence O’Connor, a cardiologist with Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital, told CBS2 that Thicke’s collapse at the skating ring prior to going to the emergency room showed how serious his condition was.
“The faint suggests there was a very large dissection, and possibly a perforation,” O’Connor said. “So it’s a tremendous emergency.”
The ruptured aorta and dissection means the lining of the aorta tore and then ruptured, pouring blood into his chest cavity, O’Connor said.
An aortic tear also killed John Ritter in 2003.
Thicke was a TV host, writer, composer and actor well-known in his homeland before making his named in the United States, most notably with the ABC series “Growing Pains.”
On that comedy, which aired from 1985 to 1992, Thicke played Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist and father-knows-best who moved his practice into his home so his wife can go back to work as a reporter. Along with his clients, he had three (later four) kids under foot, including his oldest son, Mike, played by breakout heart-throb Kirk Cameron, who served as a constant source of comedic trouble for the family.
Born in Ontario, Canada, in 1947, Thicke was nominated for three Emmy Awards for his work in the late 1970s as a writer for Barry Manilow’s talk show, and later for a satirical take on the genre in the variety show “America 2-Night.”
He composed several popular theme songs, including the original theme for “The Wheel of Fortune,” and for shows including “The Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes.” In recent years, Thicke had guest appearances on shows such as “How I Met Your Mother” and “This Is Us.”
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