Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter is scrutinizing the medical records of late comedian John Candy, to try to understand what caused his fatal heart attack on March 4, 1994.
As OKMagazine.com readers know, the actor was just 43 at the time of his sudden death, and while there were certainly various factors which contributed to his health decline, medical experts are still confounded by his untimely passing.
"John Candy had a history of binge eating and extreme dieting but remained severely obese throughout most of his adult life. However, there are reports that there was another aspect of John's life that can also have a devastating effect on the heart: drinking alcohol," explains Hunter in REELZ's new docuseries, Autopsy: John Candy.
Apart from Hunter, several of Candy's former friends and acquaintances appear on the shocking series, sharing their thoughts on his hard-partying ways and recalling the wild times they had together.
"He liked to go to parties and he was known to indulge," says Candy's former best friend, Jonathan O'Mara.
"He certainly was capable of a big night out and he could drink a lot — and often did," agrees Dr. Joe Guse, a psychologist and former comedian.
Booze, his pals admit, was certainly a big part of his lifestyle — but could it have led to his early death?
"Late on I heard stories about John really drinking a lot. But he was a big fellow, so he could take a lot of drink without really showing much effect of that," recalls O'Mara.
"We and a big crew on Wagons East and before John passed away, there was a party and we all the crew ended up showing up there, John was there with us all," adds Mitch Masoner, Candy's former driver.
At this time, Hunter says, Candy was under doctors' orders to lose weight. Even a moderate amount of social drinking would've been counterproductive to those efforts.
"Heavy drinking also raises blood pressure, so this would've been putting John's heart under considerable strain," says Hunter. "And it seems that a particular vent just days before he died may have pushed John to take his drinking to another, much more dangerous level."
Autopsy: John Candy airs Sunday, March 3 at 8 ET / PT on REELZ.