Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who had suffered two previous heart attacks before he collapsed and died on July 5, suffered from severe heart disease, according to an autopsy released by the Pitkin County, CO, Sheriff’s Office. Lay’s three main coronary arteries were more than 90% blocked, the autopsy revealed.

Dr. Rob Kurtzman, a forensic pathologist, released six pages of an 18-page autopsy report. He wrote, “The immediate cause of death is arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease with severe blockage of all three coronary arteries.” The autopsy indicated Lay had two coronary artery stents in place to increase blood flow. He and his wife Linda had been in Aspen, CO, for a short vacation.

Before his collapse, Lay had not been complaining of any chest pains, according to the report. Kurtzman wrote that Lay woke up about 1 a.m. MST on July 5. “According to his wife, they were talking and he subsequently went into the bathroom.” A few minutes later, his wife heard a “thump,” and she found her husband laying “unresponsive” on the bathroom floor. When paramedics arrived at the home, they performed CPR before transporting Lay to nearby Aspen Valley Hospital. Lay was declared dead a short time later (see Daily GPI, July 6).

Toxicology tests were not released by the sheriff’s office. Kurtzman indicated the autopsy was performed shortly after Lay’s death. Lay’s body was later cremated.

Lay was to be sentenced on Oct. 23 after being convicted in May on 10 counts of conspiracy and fraud. He was expected to be sentenced to at least 25 years in federal prison. His death will most likely vacate his conviction, or it may be dismissed, but defense lawyers have not yet made any requests to the court. The government filed a motion in late June to seize Lay’s assets, and no motion to dismiss the filing has been made.

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