Hawaii official died from irregular
heartbeat after plane crash
Send a link to a friend
[January 14, 2014]
By Malia Mattoch
HONOLULU (Reuters) — A Hawaii state health
official who gained national attention when she released a copy of
President Barack Obama's birth certificate in 2011, died from a
stress-induced irregular heartbeat following a plane crash last month,
Loretta Fuddy, 65, director of the Hawaii Department of Health,
died on December 11 after a single-engine plane with nine people on
board crashed some 300 yards off Molokai's Kalaupapa peninsula
during an inter-island flight.
The pilot and seven other passengers survived the crash with various
injuries and one of the injured swam to shore, a U.S. Coast Guard
"It has been determined that Fuddy's cause of death was cardiac
arrhythmia as a result of stress and the manner of death was
accidental," the Maui Police Department said.
Heart rhythm problems occur when the electrical impulses in the
heart that coordinate heartbeats do not work properly, causing the
heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly, according to Mayo
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie appointed Fuddy as health director
in 2011. She previously held other leadership positions in the
state, including chief of the Family Health Services Division.
Amid accusations by so-called "birthers," who said Obama was not
born in the United States, Fuddy released to him copies of his
original certificate of live birth in Hawaii.
She said that "in
recognition of your status as president of the United States," she
was making an exception to her department's policy of only releasing
a computer-generated certified copy.
[to top of second column]
Obama then released a copy of that longer version of his birth
certificate in response to the widely discredited claims he was not
born in the United States. In doing so, he blasted "carnival
barkers" who refused to let the issue go.
A spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Health said Fuddy's deputy,
Keith Yamamoto, was among the passengers who survived the crash of
the Cessna 208 Caravan.
The flight was being operated by Makani Kai Air, which flies between
Oahu and Molokai.
(Reporting by Malia Mattoch in Honolulu;
writing by Eric M. Johnson,
editing by Elizabeth Piper)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.