The cause of actor Kristoff St. John‘s death has been revealed, and it’s surprising. According to E! News, per the online coroner case records, the star’s death was listed as an accident, with the cause being hypertrophic heart disease.
TMZ also reported that it was labeled as “accidental” because St. John was partaking in an alcohol binge at the time of his death that exacerbated the condition. As previously reported, police were called to his home to check for a possible alcohol overdose on Sunday, February 3. While there, authorities found The Young and the Restless actor dead. He was 52.
If you’ve never heard of the disease, here are five things to be aware of when it comes to hypertrophic heart disease:
- Also known as cardiomyopathy, it’s a disease in which the heart muscle becomes unusually thicker. When that happens, it becomes harder for the heart to pump blood adequately.
- The thickening of the heart muscle tends to impact the septum the most often, which is a wall in the heart that separates the left and right side of the heart. The enlarged septum may cause blood flow to be blocked or reduced from the left ventricle to the aorta. This causes the ventricles to have to pump harder. Other parts of the heart muscle impacted and thickened include the bottom of the heart, as well as the right and left ventricles.
- The disease can be caused by genetics (it is often inherited), high blood pressure, aging, infections in the heart muscle, pregnancy, long-term alcoholism and more.
- According to the CDC, one in 500 adults may have this condition and it is thought to be the most common genetic heart disease. Those individuals are at a high risk of a sudden cardiac death.
- Symptoms of the condition include chest pain, shortness of breath, particularly during intense physical activity, as well as palpitations, light-headedness, dizziness and fainting.
The actor was buried next to his son, Julian, who died by suicide in 2014. Around the anniversary of Julian’s death in 2017, St. John reportedly threatened to take his life and was placed under a 72-hour hold. Afterward, he checked himself into the UCLA Medical Center for treatment of his depression and was away from The Y&R for four months.
“My baby boy Kristoff, I never planned to be standing here on this day. Honestly, I always thought that Kristoff would be standing here to talk about me,” he said according to PEOPLE.
“When Kristoff was born I held him in my arms, just like this, and he was the most remarkable little baby I’d ever seen,” he continued. “He taught me how to be a better boy, because he knew things about me that I didn’t even realize. Well, we started growing up together, me and Kristoff, and we had the greatest time. He taught me how to laugh and play. We did everything together.”
“Kristoff, I love you, man, with all my heart and soul, my baby boy,” he added.
St. John is survived by daughters Paris (from his marriage to ex-wife Mia St. John) and Lola (from his marriage to Allana Nadal).