BOSTON (AP) — Former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie says both of his parents died within an hour of each other.
Flutie said Wednesday on his Facebook page that father Dick died of a heart attack in a Florida hospital and that mother Joan also suffered a heart attack and died less than an hour later.
Flutie wrote: “They say you can die of a broken heart and I believe it.”
In an interview with WTOP, Virginia Heart’s chief medical officer, Warren Levy, confirmed such a notion.
“Yes, you can die from a broken heart,” he told health reporter Paula Wolfson. “It’s much more common in women than in men, almost nine times more common.”
He said broken heart syndrome can be caused by extreme stress or grief, or by a very strong emotional event. The body secretes chemicals, including adrenaline, that cause the heart to beat abnormally and constrict the arteries that supply blood to the heart. That causes a potentially fatal heart attack-like syndrome.
Flutie did not elaborate on the circumstances of their deaths, but called them “incredible parents and grandparents” who had been married for 56 years and were always there for their children.
The 1984 Heisman Trophy winner at Boston College, Flutie played 13 seasons in the NFL with Chicago, New England, Buffalo and San Diego. He also spent a year in the USFL with New Jersey, and won three Grey Cup titles in eight seasons in the Canadian Football League with British Columbia, Calgary and Toronto.
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