On June 22, 1947, Pete Maravich was born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, USA. He had a mother named Helen and a father named Petar, who was a basketball player. Pete received basketball lessons from his father at a young age.
Pete Maravich is often called “Pistol” in the NBA because of his incredible skills as a point guard. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.
Basketball legend Pete Maravich sadly passed away because of a rare heart problem, so rare that there are no statistics about how often it occurs. A recent coroner’s report revealed this. In this article, we’ll provide a detailed look into the circumstances of Pete Maravich’s passing.
Pete Maravich Cause of Death
Pete Maravich, who was 40 years old, had a rare health condition. He was born without one of the two systems of arteries that supply blood to the heart. Unfortunately, this condition caused his heart tissues to deteriorate over time, eventually leading to his passing.
Pete Maravich is often called “Pistol” in the NBA because of his incredible skills as a point guard. Doctors who specialize in studying sudden deaths in young athletes were surprised by this discovery because this rare illness usually prevents people from engaging in intense physical activities. Typically, it affects individuals younger than 20 years old.
Notable Moments in NOB History: “Pistol” Pete Maravich wore his nickname while playing for the Hawks and Jazz in the 1970s. pic.twitter.com/MiYCwo3nGI
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) February 20, 2018
If someone with Maravich’s condition managed to live into their 20s or 30s, doctors would usually assume that they couldn’t participate in sports. Dr. Frank Litvack, an expert in cardiac testing at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, mentioned that this illness is so uncommon that most medical textbooks don’t even mention it.
Take a look at the official message on Twitter regarding Pete Maravich’s passing:
Remembering the flash and mystique of ‘Pistol Pete’ Maravich 33 years after his death.
— ACC Now (@accnow) January 5, 2021
Dr. Thomas Bassler, who specializes in studying heart problems in runners, found something really unusual. After examining Maravich’s body after he passed away, they discovered that Maravich’s heart didn’t have one of the two networks of small arteries called the left coronary artery complex, which normally supplies the heart with well-oxygenated blood.
Usually, when people need heart surgery, it’s because their coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart, get clogged with fatty deposits. Surprisingly, in Maravich’s case, there weren’t any significant blockages in these arteries, even though he followed a vegetarian diet throughout his life.
In a healthy person with good heart arteries, coronary artery disease can cause chest pain (angina) and, in rare cases, sudden death. Both coronary artery systems are important for heart health, but the left one is especially crucial.
A study mentioned by Litvack found that similar problems to what Maravich experienced affected only 43 patients, and sadly, 34 of them died before the age of 20. Many of these patients, like Maravich, passed away after strenuous exercise.
Interestingly, Litvack and other doctors say that this illness can sometimes go unnoticed even after a treadmill stress test, where a person walks on a treadmill while machines monitor their heart rate.
What’s really unique about Maravich’s situation, as noted by Litvack, is that he never got to play sports, let alone excel in them. From 1967 to 1970, Maravich scored an incredible 44.2 points per game at Louisiana State University, setting a record in college basketball.
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