Sequim strongman died of heart ailment, coroner confirms

By Randy Trick, Peninsula Daily News

Toxicology results have not changed the determination of the cause of death of Jesse Marunde, Sequim's strongman, who died on July 25 at the age of 27.

Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Kelly, who serves as the county coroner, said that the official cause of death remains an enlarged heart and a condition called hypertrophic myocardium, a rare genetic disease that is characterized by a thickening of the heart muscle.

Kelly said at the time that a presumptive death certificate was issued in late August that if the toxicology report showed another reason for Marunde's death, or complicating factors, the death certificate could be changed.

On Thursday, Kelly said her review of the toxicology report did not prompt a new death certificate.

The toxicology report was part of an autopsy requested by the family of the world-renowned weight-lifter.

Kelly said the report would not be released publicly, citing privacy laws, and that it was shared only with Marunde's wife, Callie Marunde, of Sequim.

Callie Marunde could not be reached on Thursday.

Chuck Marunde of Port Angeles, Jesse's father, said he was not given access to the toxicology report because, under state law, that report could be released only to his son's wife.

But he said he knew the cause of death had been listed as a heart condition.

Marunde collapsed after a workout at his gym, the Marunde Muscle gym in Sequim, and died shortly afterward.

A study of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy by the American Heart Institute found that, of a group of patients who died suddenly like Marunde, seven in 10 were younger than 30 years old, about half were without functional limitation and six in 10 were performing sedentary or minimal physical activity.

Marunde had won second place in 2005 at the World's Strongest Man competition.

About 600 mourners attended his funeral in August, several calling him the strongest man with the biggest capacity for love.

Marunde and his wife had an infant daughter, Jessica Joy, and Marunde had an 8-year-old son, Dawson.

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Reporter Randy Trick can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at randy.trick@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 20. 2007 9:00PM
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