NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Antonin Scalia suffered from coronary artery disease, obesity and diabetes, among other ailments that probably contributed to the justice’s sudden death, according to a letter from the Supreme Court’s doctor.
Presidio County District Attorney Rod Ponton cited the letter Tuesday when he told The Associated Press there was nothing suspicious about the Feb. 13 death of the 79-year-old jurist. He said the long list of health problems made an autopsy unnecessary.
Ponton had a copy of the letter from Rear Adm. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician for members of Congress and the Supreme Court. The letter was to Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara, who conducted a death inquiry by phone and certified Scalia’s death.
The letter dated Feb. 16 said Scalia’s many “significant medical conditions led to his death,” Ponton said.
In the letter, Monahan listed more than a half-dozen ailments, including sleep apnea, degenerative joint disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and high blood pressure. Scalia also was a smoker, the letter said.
Scalia was found dead in his bed at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, not far from the Mexico border, where he had gone on a hunting trip. Scalia’s death “was handled in a similar fashion as the cases of other elderly people who have died in Presidio County,” Ponton said.
In rural Texas, justices of the peace investigate deaths, among other duties, but the two justices in the region were out of town and unavailable. Guevara was also out of town, more than 60 miles away, but agreed to conduct the death inquiry by phone.
The Supreme Court does not provide regular reports about the justices’ health. It is left to each court member to decide how much to make public about medical conditions.
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