Tory MP Jim Hillyer's Cause Of Death Was Heart Attack: Coroner

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OTTAWA — A statement from the constituency office of an Alberta MP found dead at his desk last week says he died of a heart attack.

The statement says an autopsy confirmed the cause of death for Conservative Jim Hillyer.

The 41-year-old was found dead on March 23 after he returned to the capital following surgery to treat an infection in his leg.

Hillyer died instantly of cardiomyopathy, which may have been related to an undiagnosed pre-existing heart condition or from the chemotherapy he underwent in 2003 while battling leukemia, the statement says.

jim hillyer
Alberta Conservative MP Jim Hillyer leaves the Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, May 19, 2011. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

Hillyer broke his leg in a skiing accident in 2013 and took three weeks off for surgery and rehabilitation.

But he was plagued with infections that required subsequent surgeries.

He often walked with a cane and some were surprised to see him back on the Hill after his latest hospital stay.

The autopsy didn't reveal any other health problems.

"The medical examination eliminated any current health issues as playing a factor in Mr. Hillyer’s death," said the statement.

"The coroner has advised that in the coming weeks, further test results will confirm which of the two identifiable factors is the cause of death.

"Jim is my high school sweetheart."

Hillyer's wife, Olivia, offered thanks to supporters for their condolences.

"More than words can express, I am moved deeply and comforted by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers my family has received since Jim's sudden and tragic death," she said in a statement.

"Jim is my high school sweetheart."

Hillyer left behind four children; London, Taylor, Nation, and Asia.

All "are faithful and strong because of his example and love," said Olivia Hillyer.

The funeral is set for Friday in Raymond, Alta.

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