Norwegian Olympic hopeful and current 100 meter breaststroke champion Dale One died on April 30th of heart disease, a medical examiner announced on Tuesday.
While training for the 2012 Summer Olympics at a pool in Flagstaff, Arizona, Oen collapsed and was found partially in a bath tub after a light workout, he was later pronounced dead. He was 26-years-old and considered to be his country’s best hopes to receive a medal in London this year when the Olympics started.
The first autopsy conducted in early May was deemed inconclusive. However, a second one conducted by the Coconino County Public Health Services District, concluded Oen died from atherosclerotic coronary artery disease, a hereditary heart disease.
The disease causes the unusually accelerated hardening of the arteries caused by plaque build-up that narrows and makes the arterial passages stiffer, eventually causing a heart attack.
“Based on the autopsy findings and the investigative history that is available to me, it is my opinion that Alexander Dale-Oen died of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease,” Coconino County medical examiner Lawrence Czarnecki wrote in a report.
The family history was not known about during the first autopsy but was checked into as a cause of death during a second autopsy, once the family history revealed a grandfather had died suddenly of heart disease at the age of 42.
“The decedent’s only known risk factor for heart disease was familial,” Czarnecki said.
“Given the decedent’s young age and significant atherosclerotic disease, a follow-up and evaluation of family members is recommended,” he added.
Oen was considered a national hero in Norway after winning the 100 meter breaststroke at the World Championships last year.