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Alan Thicke’s Official Cause of Death Revealed as Ruptured Aorta

Alan Thicke’s official cause of death was revealed Wednesday, December 21, to be a ruptured aorta.

According to Entertainment Tonight, which obtained the beloved actor’s death certificate, the official cause of death was a “ruptured aorta” and a “standard type A aortic dissection.” In other words, there was a tear in one of Thicke’s aortas (an artery that pumps blood to and from the heart to the rest of the body) that spread throughout the aorta vessel.

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The tear eventually caused an aortic rupture, which led to the Growing Pains alum’s death. According to the ET site, Thicke was declared dead just minutes after the aorta ruptured, with time of death listed at 2:14 p.m. (A ruptured aorta is different from a heart attack because the ruptured aorta resulted from a tear; a heart attack is brought upon an individual because the aorta is blocked.)

Alan Thicke
Alan Thicke arrives at the Cedars Sinai Sports Spectacular at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza May 22, 2011, in Beverly Hills.

As previously reported, Thicke was at the Pickwick Gardens recreational center in Burbank, California, Tuesday, December 13, playing hockey with his 19-year-old son, Carter, when he suddenly felt ill. Darin Mathewson, the vice president of the skating rink, told ET that Thicke did not look well when the paramedics came to take him away. (Mathewson himself had called 911.)

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“He said he had pain in his chest, but his color was not good,” Mathewson said. “He was a little gray. When the ambulance got here they hacked his vitals … and they put him on the gurney, sat him up.”

Symptoms of a type A aortic dissection include sudden chest or back pain, and may include vomiting, sweating and light-headedness.

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On Sunday, December 18, the actor’s life was celebrated with a star-studded memorial service at his and wife Tanya Callau’s home in Carpinteria, California, near Santa Barbara. There, celebrities — among them, Kris JennerLeonardo DiCaprioBill Maher and Bob Saget  gathered to pay tribute to the Hollywood legend.

Tanya broke her silence following Thicke’s death in a statement to Us Weekly, in which she called the pain “gut-wrenching.” “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,” her statement read. “Through tears and smiles our dearest of family and friends came together at our home to celebrate the life of my sweet and devoted husband, Alan Thicke.” 

His son, singer Robin Thicke, emceed the event and did impressions of his late father throughout the program. At one point, the “Blurred Lines” singer, pretending to be Alan, joked, “I’m Alan Thicke and this is exactly the way I want to go out … I’d like to thank all of my ex-wives for coming.” (The Unusually Thicke star was previously married to Robin’s mother, Gloria Loring, and Gina Tolleson, who both attended.)

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