Autopsy: Former NFL Star Cortez Kennedy Died of Natural Causes

January 23, 2018 Updated: January 23, 2018

Former Seattle Seahawks superstar Cortez Kennedy’s cause of death has been revealed.

Kennedy, a Hall-of-Fame defensive lineman who caused havoc for offensive lines throughout the 1990s, died of congestive heart failure from heart disease in May 2017, according to The News Tribune on Tuesday, Jan. 23. His brain was sent for study by the Boston University School of Medicine’s CTE research center, the report said.

Kennedy died at 48, and the Office of the Orange County Medical Examiner in Orlando said, specifically, that his death was caused by “congestive heart failure, due to hypertensive heart disease, with organizing pneumonia and diabetes mellitus as contributing factors.”

Reports said that he died at his home in a golf-course community in Orlando, Florida. The 1992 NFL defensive player of the year had moved there in 2015—three years after he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“At the request of the family, the intact brain of the deceased was sent to Boston University School of Medicine Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center,” the autopsy said. “If the conclusion of the brain examination results in the cause or manner of death, this report will be amended,” it added.

Kennedy is listed in the autopsy as 6 feet 1 inches tall and 265 pounds, TMZ reported, citing the autopsy.

Kennedy played 11 seasons for the Seattle Seahawks and went to the Pro Bowl eight times. Dennis Erickson, who was Kennedy’s coach at the University of Miami, said in January 2000 that Kennedy was “one of the best players I’ve ever seen.”

“Cortez will be remembered not only for all his great achievements on the football field but how he handled himself off the field,” Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker previously said, according to the Seattle PI. “He epitomized the many great values this game teaches which serves as inspiration to millions of fans.”


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