Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died of arteriosclerotic heart disease, according to the Hennepin County (Minn.) medical examiner.
Arteriosclerotic heart disease is caused by arteriosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries (blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to organs and tissues). Arteriosclerotic heart disease can also be caused by calcium deposits on the walls of the arteries that harden them or the thickening of the artery walls due to chronic high blood pressure.
Symptoms can include chest pain, sweating, abnormal heart rhythms, shortness of breath and congestive heart failure or heart attack when the supply of blood and oxygen to a heart muscle is blocked.
ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported Sparano went to a hospital last Thursday, complaining of chest pains. After running some tests, he was released on Friday. Sources say Sparano was found unconscious by his wife, Jeannette, in the kitchen of their Eden Prairie home as the two prepared to go to church Sunday morning. Jeannette Sparano was unable to revive her husband.
Police say they received a 911 call from the residence at 8:07 AM CDT. Sparano was pronounced dead at 8:54 AM CDT. He was 56 years old.
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Sparano spent nearly two decades as an NFL coach with nine different teams. He was head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-11 and interim head coach of the Oakland Raiders for the final 12 games of the 2014 season. He became the only head coach in NFL history to take a team to the playoffs after a one-win season when he led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and the AFC East title in 2008.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.