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Coroner: Bengals coach Mike Zimmer's wife died of natural causes


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#1 oldschooler

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:30 AM

Coroner: Bengals coach Mike Zimmer's wife died of natural causes
Enquirer staff report October 12, 2009


Hamilton County Coroner Dr. O'dell Owens said Vikki Zimmer, the wife of Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, died of natural causes at her home Thursday night.

Owens cannot yet say the exact cause of death because all toxicology tests are not complete. He said all signs show the death was not the result of foul play or some sort of accident. Zimmer was 50.

Photos: Zimmer visits with family before Sunday's game

The nation's eyes were on the sad and sudden death of Zimmer Sunday when the Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens in the last 15 minutes of the game.

As the team returned triumphant to the locker room, national television cameras caught the emotion of the team presenting the game ball to Mike Zimmer.

"It was a great tribute to Mike Zimmer and his family," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "It's just awesome. I don't know how it could be any better for that. It's great."

Zimmer decided to coach at the away game, bringing his father, son and one of his daughters with him.




Visitation Tuesday


Visitation Tues. 9:30-10:30 AM at Holy Cross-Immaculata Church, 30 Guido St. in Mt. Adams, where Mass will take place Tues. at 10:30 AM.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to either: Happy Hill Farm Academy 3843 N. Highway 144 Granbury, TX 76048 or The Marvin Lewis Community Fund (Longworth Hall) 700 West Pete Rose Way, Unit 37 Cincinnati, OH 45203.





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#2 ColorChanginClique

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:32 AM

natural causes at 50?

Sounds so strange...can't help but wonder how
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#3 oldschooler

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:34 AM

Vikki Zimmer was 'a sweetheart'

Bengals players shocked by death of coach's wife
By John Erardi jerardi@enquirer.com October 12, 2009


The Bengals locker room Monday had none of the day-after exuberance one might expect following such a potentially watershed victory.


The somber tone was in keeping with the continued disbelief on the part of a young and extremely close team over the death last Thursday of Vikki Zimmer, wife of Mike, Bengals defensive coordinator.


Several players spoke about it on Monday, a day when players are usually exceedingly hard to find for the media. On this day, it was as though they wanted to be found, and not because of the victory, but because of their closeness to coach Zimmer, who himself had done so much over the past two years to encourage the players' bond for one another.

Safety Roy Williams referred to Vikki Zimmer as a "mother figure to me," because she was in Dallas with Mike when Williams was a rookie.

"When coach (Jay) Hayes called and told me about coach (Zimmer) going in the house and finding her dead, I was shook," Williams said. "That night Thursday night and Friday night I probably got two hours of sleep. It hit home. It makes you really just think about life and how precious it is."

Williams said he was not surprised that Zimmer coached on Sunday, serving as an inspiration to the team, only three days after his wife's sudden and totally unexpected passing. Williams knew intuitively what the other, younger, Bengals would learn of only later.

"(Coach Zimmer) told us that his wife would have wanted him to coach," said defensive tackle Domata Peko. "Coming down toward the fourth quarter (Sunday), I remember being in the huddle and a lot of guys were reminding each other, 'Remember, man, let's do this for Zimmer.' It really just helped us push ourselves even more."

The Bengals won 17-14 on a come-from-behind rally in Baltimore to take over first place in the division and keep the Ravens at bay.

Peko said it was one of the most emotional football games he'd ever experienced.

"(Coach) Zimmer was so excited at the end, and everybody was just loving on him," Peko said. "To (be able to) give him the game ball was real big (for him) and real big for us."

Peko said he first met Vikki Zimmer at the "Taste of NFL" two years ago when he was hosting the event, and the Zimmers had recently come to town.

"Coach Zim said, 'Hey, Domata, my wife really wants to meet you she says you're her new favorite player,'" said Peko, who of course couldn't resist such an entreaty. "I met her, and she was a sweetheart."

One good thing, the players said, is that coach Zimmer never hid from them his feelings for his wife or hers for the team.

"Coach Zim would talk about her, kind of letting us know how much she really cared about us," said cornerback Leon Hall. "Those snacks she'd (send in) on 'victory Mondays' which were delicious by the way we're all going to miss that, and we're going to miss her."

Hall said he "couldn't imagine" how coach Zimmer was able to "come out here and make calls for the defense" on Sunday, only three days after his wife's passing.

"(But) we kind of had an idea knowing the kind of person coach Zimmer is that he'd probably be out there on Sunday," Hall said.

Williams referred to Vikki Zimmer as "the rock of that family, holding it together."

"I'm not saying they are going to fall apart now," Williams said. "But she was the bright spot in Zim's life. You can really tell that The (victory) really helped him; his family being there was very good for him."

Despite the overall somber mood in the locker room Monday, those who knew Vikki Zimmer best just had to smile at times during their recollections.

"She made some brownies with marshmallow frosting (that were) awesome," Williams remembered. "I didn't have them when (coach) 'Zim' was around (because the coach was always on him to watch his weight) but a couple of days later (when Zimmer wasn't around) I had them they were just sitting in our DB (defensive back) room and, man, they were still good!"

One could tell from the players' words and body language in the locker room that the team has been brought even closer by Vikki Zimmer's passing.

Oh, how approving she would have been of that.

"You never know when your day is to get called back home," Williams said. "You always have to make sure to let people know they're loved and cared about. Football is our job, but at the end of the day, it's family."






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#4 mongo

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:47 AM

natural causes at 50?

Sounds so strange...can't help but wonder how


aneurysm? heart defect? Whatever it was, I think you can probably find some peace in "when it's your time to go..."
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#5 Jeb

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 08:17 AM

aneurysm? heart defect? Whatever it was, I think you can probably find some peace in "when it's your time to go..."


...swine flu, ...severe allergic reaction? It could be a million things.
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#6 GoBengals

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 08:17 AM

Very Sad.
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#7 oldschooler

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 09:01 AM

First-place Bengals still grieving death
By JOE KAY, The Associated Press
Updated 9:19 PM Monday, October 12, 2009


CINCINNATI The fourth quarter was starting, and the game was getting crazy. In the Cincinnati Bengals defensive huddle, players blocked out the raucous Baltimore crowd and reminded each other that a lot more was at stake than first place.

They were playing for someone special.

Vikki Zimmer, the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, would bake treats for team and send encouraging notes to players, who dedicated their 17-14 win on Sunday to her memory and her family. She died unexpectedly last week.

"I remember we were in the huddle and a lot of the guys were reminding each other: Remember, let's do this for Zimmer," defensive lineman Domata Peko said. "He's going through a tough time now, and let's do it for him. That helped us push ourselves even more to get this victory."

The Bengals (4-1) took sole possession of first place in the AFC North by beating the Ravens, then gave the game ball to Zimmer in a locker room full of men blinking back tears. A day later, that was still the moment on their minds.

"Very emotional," coach Marvin Lewis said Monday. "Obviously it's a big win on the road in the division, but that was second to the Zimmer family. We know what Mike had to be going through and thinking about in the quiet times prior to the game and I'm sure right afterward, and maybe at times within. So I think it was second to that."

Zimmer found his wife unresponsive when he got home after practice on Thursday night. The death shocked the entire team, especially those who have known the couple for years. Zimmer was the Cowboys' defensive coordinator from 2000-06, moved to Atlanta for a year and joined the Bengals before last season.

Safety Roy Williams was drafted by Dallas in 2002 and got to know Vikki Zimmer's kindness in Dallas.

"She was always sending me notes, making sure I'm OK," Williams said. "She will be missed. When coach (Jay) Hayes called me and told me about coach going into the house and finding her dead, I was in shock. Thursday night and Friday night, I probably got one or two hours of sleep every night. It hit home. It makes you just think about life and how precious it is."

Vikki Zimmer had a tradition of baking treats for the defensive players on Mondays after a victory. Those who weren't watching their weight enjoyed them in Zimmer's presence. Others had to sneak them.

"She made some brownies that had marshmallow frosting on them," Williams said. "I didn't have them when Zim was around, but when he left the room, a couple days later, I had them after the Cleveland game and man, they were still good.

"She'll be missed for many reasons, not just the snacks the spirit that she had and the encouraging notes and all the inspirational stuff."

The Bengals let Zimmer decide whether he wanted to coach the game on Sunday or stay in Cincinnati and spend time with his family. Zimmer told the team that his wife would have wanted him to coach, so he was on the flight to Baltimore, accompanied by his father, his son and one of his daughters.

The players were impressed by how Zimmer carried himself.

"I couldn't really imagine how you can go through something like that and be able to come out and make (play) calls and focus in and forget what's happening in your personal life," cornerback Leon Hall said.

The defense played its best game of the season, holding one of the NFL's leading offenses to 257 yards and one touchdown Baltimore also scored on Ed Reed's 52-yard interception return. The offense then pulled off its third straight last-minute win, with Carson Palmer throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 22 seconds left.

It completed a streak of three straight wins against AFC North opponents, two of them on the road, and put the Bengals alone on top of the division a very rare thing. Cincinnati has only one winning record in the last 18 years.

The last time the Bengals started 4-1? The 2005 season that ended with an 11-5 record and the only playoff appearance during those 18 years.

"We wanted to win not just for Zimmer, but for ourselves, to help solidify our division which we did," Williams said. "It's awesome that we did win because winning makes things a little easier. With the (funeral) services coming up, it makes it a little easier on them."

NOTES: QB Carson Palmer might be limited in practice this week because of a sprained left thumb, suffered in the fourth quarter Sunday. He finished the game by handing off with his right (passing) hand. He's expected to play Sunday against Houston. ... The Bengals will spend the next four weeks at home, with games against Houston, Chicago and Baltimore along with their bye.





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#8 oldschooler

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 06:33 PM

Coaching fraternity celebrates Vikki Zimmer
GEOFF HOBSON

Posted Oct 13, 2009

Posted: 4:15

In the NFL, Tuesday is the day the grinders grind.

With the players off, Tuesday is the day the coaches shutter themselves in the dark to watch tape, draw Xs and Os, erase said Xs and Os and draw them again, punch printouts, meet, break, eat lunch at the desk, miss another dinner at home, eat in the cafeteria, and somehow come up with a game plan that can be practiced and perfected for the next four days before Sunday.

All except this Tuesday, the day they said goodbye to Vikki Zimmer in a jam-packed mass at Holy Cross Immaculata Church high on Cincinnati's Mount Adams and in the heart of the coaching fraternity.

The Bengals came on buses from Paul Brown Stadium. The Saints came on a plane from New Orleans. Vikki Zimmer, the wife of Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer for 28 football seasons, had married a coach and gave birth to one and so her family is one in the same.

That's pretty much what head coach Marvin Lewis told the church when he eulogized her with Isaiah 41:10 ("Fear thou not; for I am with thee ... I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness") and reminded her three children that they now had an extended network of aunts and uncles they could call at any time.

That's pretty much what Vikki's husband said when he chose three of his players, safety Roy WilliamsPosted Image, middle linebacker Dhani JonesPosted Image, and defensive tackle Domata PekoPosted Image, to serve as pallbearers.

If there was anyone who knew what made the coaching fraternity strong and nurturing and comforting, it was Vikki Zimmer, 50 years young when she left last week with her treats and notes and phone calls so suddenly it blew open a hole so wide in the fraternity that it took two NFL teams to fill it.

But they did because that's what a fraternity does in times like this. They are really the only ones that know about the missed meals, the calls on birthdays, the nights they're home too late and the mornings they're gone too early, and the 24-hour criticism from outside.

The players came, too, Tuesday. Every defensive player and most of the offensive players made the walk down the aisle of Immaculata. Carson and Shaelyn Palmer left the twins at home, but Jon Fanene and Leon HallPosted Image carried their babies. Vikki Zimmer would have loved that.

And she would have loved the fact that all of the Saints starting linebackers honored her own baby with their presence. Adam Zimmer, Vikki and Mike Zimmer's oldest child now 25 is, of course, a coach, and the Saints assistant linebackers coach.

If you needed a babysitter, there were three generations of them. A generation ago, Vikki Zimmer and Rebecca Bratkowski, wife of Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, babysat the children of Mike Price when their husbands worked for him at Weber Stare.

Price, now the head coach at Texas-El Paso, was there. So was Sean Payton, the head coach of the Saints. Vikki Zimmer's daughters, Corri and Marki, babysat Sean and Beth Payton's kids Connor and Meghan when the husbands coached together in Dallas.

"I'd come home and there'd be something for Connor from Vikki," Payton recalled Tuesday. "It'd be a basket or something. And it wouldn't even be for his birthday. It would be like for his first day of school or something. Connor would call her 'Vikkizimmer.' It wasn't Miss or Vikki. It was just 'Vikkizimmer.'"

Vikkizimmer was always doing that kind of stuff. Stuff for the fraternity. Stuff for everybody. It didn't matter. Lewis told the church about the parties she'd have for the coaches' wives when they were on the road and her husband's smile when he talked about his family from the day Lewis first met him.

So did Mike Zimmer when he got up there and talked for about two of the bravest minutes you'll ever see, saying his wife had such a big heart and asking her to wrap her wings around the family while they live the rest of their lives trying to make her smile.

Rebecca Bratkowski hurt badly Tuesday. But she was able to smile, too.

You know who caught the garter at Rebecca and Bob's wedding?

Mike Zimmer.

That was when Brat and Zim were at Missouri with Price and he took both of them to Weber State, where Vikki and Zimmer met and got married. When the Zimmers surfaced in Cincinnati last year, it was like old times.

Rebecca has just returned from Missouri taking care of ill parents, just like Vikki did last year when she lost them both. She understood what Rebecca was going through.

"I had a voice message from her. They were going to pamper me because I'd been away for six weeks," said Rebecca Bratkowski of Vikki and other wives.

The Paytons had to leave and Vikkizimmer wouldn't have minded. If anyone knew about Tuesdays and game planning and the need to get back to the office, Vikkizimmer would have been the first one to tell them to leave. Of course, she would have sent them back with a kiss and a treat.

So Mike Zimmer kissed Beth Payton and nodded at his son.

"Look after him," he said, but he knew she would because that's what a fraternity does.

Vikkizimmer would have loved that.







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#9 BlackJesus

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 06:38 PM

It was nice to see that Coach Zimmer chose Roy Williams, Dhani Jones, and Domata Peko, to serve as pallbearers for his late wife.
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#10 MULLY

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:10 PM

Really, really sad. I hope the Zimmer family can get through this with as little grief as possible. God knows that ain't gonna happen though. Those poor kids.
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#11 gatorclaws

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:47 PM

Really, really sad. I hope the Zimmer family can get through this with as little grief as possible. God knows that ain't gonna happen though. Those poor kids.
MULLY


He'll probably get through ok for now since there is football to focus on but the bye week and more important, the offseason are going to be brutal for him. Similar to Votto losing his dad, Zimmer probably won't feel the full impact until later.
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#12 Numbers

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:48 PM

Sad that someone so young has to go so early.

Paul Browns first wife Katie Kester went early and was also considered natural causes (I think it was Diabetes related).

Peace at last from the earth set at turmoil from the beginning which is probably no consolation to those grieving.
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#13 oldschooler

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 06:42 AM

Bengals, family, friends pay final respects to Vikki Zimmer at funeral
By Joe Reedy jreedy@enquirer.com October 13, 2009


Bengals players, staff and friends of the Zimmer family paid their final respects to Vikki Zimmer, the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, during Tuesday's funeral at Holy Cross-Immaculata Church in Mount Adams.

The church was full before the beginning of the mass and there was a line of mourners greeting the family for the one-hour visitation before the service. After the service, a private reception was held at Paul Brown Stadium.

Photos: Today's visitation
Photos: Emotional Sunday
Vikki a 'sweetheart'
Doc: Moment of peace

Zimmer is in his second season with the Bengals after 13 years in Dallas and one in Atlanta.

"I think I and everyone will remember just how excited she was to be here," said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis about Vikki Zimmer on Monday. "It was a new beginning for them. Their youngest daughter was moving on to college, so it was a whole transition era, the empty nest, et cetera. So I think Vikki was excited about being able to settle down, put down some roots and see what occurs.

"I'll remember just her passion for being here in Cincinnati and the excitement of being here, and just how thoughtful she was. If you ever did anything nice for her, she wanted to right away in turn do something nice for you, and a lot of people don't do that. She wanted to always reciprocate right away. I think that's what we'll all remember about her. She spent just about every game upstairs with my parents and my family, at the games here at Paul Brown (Stadium), so they have a special bond."

Hamilton County Coroner Dr. O'dell Owens said Vikki Zimmer, the wife of Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, died of natural causes at her home Thursday night.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to either: Happy Hill Farm Academy 3843 N. Highway 144 Granbury, TX 76048 or The Marvin Lewis Community Fund (Longworth Hall) 700 West Pete Rose Way, Unit 37 Cincinnati, OH 45203.




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#14 oldschooler

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:59 AM


WCPO VIDEO: Bengals, Many Others Say Goodbye To Vikki Zimmer

http://www.kypost.co...cpo.dayport.com

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#15 Bengals1181

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:41 AM

Photos: Today's visitation
Photos: Emotional Sunday
Vikki a 'sweetheart'
Doc: Moment of peace






I'll preface this by acknowledging that the Zimmers may have OK'ed it, but does anyone else think its poor taste (on a paparazzi level) that the Enquirer had a photographer INSIDE the church taking pictures of the family and players/coaches?
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#16 Farbeyonddriven

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:44 AM

I'll preface this by acknowledging that the Zimmers may have OK'ed it, but does anyone else think its poor taste (on a paparazzi level) that the Enquirer had a photographer INSIDE the church taking pictures of the family and players/coaches?


It's the media, it's what they do. It sucks, but it is what it is. This whole "natural causes" stuff is weird.
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#17 Lucid

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:45 AM

It's the media, it's what they do. It sucks, but it is what it is. This whole "natural causes" stuff is weird.


Without an autopsy, that's often the best they can do.
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#18 Farbeyonddriven

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:47 AM

Yeah, I guess you're right, seems to me they(the Zimmers) would want to know, but then again that doesn't bring her back.
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#19 oldschooler

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:47 AM

I'll preface this by acknowledging that the Zimmers may have OK'ed it, but does anyone else think its poor taste (on a paparazzi level) that the Enquirer had a photographer INSIDE the church taking pictures of the family and players/coaches?




That video I posted above shows the open casket. You can't see her though.

But yeah, I never understand why people would want to take pics at a funeral.



It's the media, it's what they do. It sucks, but it is what it is. This whole "natural causes" stuff is weird.




What's so weird about it? She didn't die from a homicide, suicide or accident.
She died from an illness or some other natural cause. My Brother died of
natural causes, and he was only 42.
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#20 Elflocko

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:48 AM

It's the media, it's what they do. It sucks, but it is what it is. This whole "natural causes" stuff is weird.



I know. There is absolutely nothing "natural" about a seemingly healthy 50-year-old woman dieing out of the blue.
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#21 Farbeyonddriven

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:50 AM

I know. There is absolutely nothing "natural" about a seemingly healthy 50-year-old woman dieing out of the blue.


That's kind of more like what I was getting at. you'd expect to hear about someone maybe in their mid to late 60's at the earliest. It's rare that a death is just left at "natural causes" for someone any younger than that.
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#22 Lucid

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 09:05 AM

That's kind of more like what I was getting at. you'd expect to hear about someone maybe in their mid to late 60's at the earliest. It's rare that a death is just left at "natural causes" for someone any younger than that.



Not at all. If the preliminary investigation (toxicology, inspection of the scene and body, etc) don't suggest foul play, and the cause if death isn't blatant (visible external blood from hemorrhaging, drowned in the tub, fell down the stairs, had cancer, etc) then without cutting them open and doing a full autopsy there is usually no better explanation than "natural causes".

**EDIT** Although the unexpected death of someone in the prime of life (ie 20's/30's) with no known health problems who dies unexpectedly would most certainly warrant an autopsy.
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#23 Jeb

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 09:08 AM

I know. There is absolutely nothing "natural" about a seemingly healthy 50-year-old woman dieing out of the blue.


...with a severe allergic reaction, ...they may never know.

(i.e., ...what if she is severely allergic to stevia and this is the first time she tried it with nobody else around to help her, ...people die of natural causes all the time.)
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#24 Elflocko

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 10:21 AM

...with a severe allergic reaction, ...they may never know.

(i.e., ...what if she is severely allergic to stevia and this is the first time she tried it with nobody else around to help her, ...people die of natural causes all the time.)


A severe allergic reaction due to the introduction of a foreign substance into her body is anything but natural.

Stroke, heart attack, aneurysm; I'd consider that "natural"...
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