Steve Moss had epilepsy since he was 13 years old, and it was complications from his lifelong disease that caused his death on Saturday, April 23, according to findings released by pathologist Dr. Fred Walker.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder and occurs when electrical signals in the brain are disrupted, which can cause seizures.
"Sudden death can be one of the outcomes of having a serious seizure disorder like epilepsy," said detective Steve Harris of the SLO Coroner's office.
Moss, who founded two alternative weekly newspapers - New Times, now in its 20th year and the Santa Maria Sun, now in its sixth, was found dead in the backyard of his San Luis Obispo home Sunday morning. It was first thought that Moss may have suffocated after he fell face-first into garden soil, but Harris said because there was little bleeding from facial cuts caused by his glasses, his heart had already stopped by the time he collapsed.
Harris said he did not know what caused Moss' heart to stop, but that it wasn't a heart attack.
Moss was taking anti-seizure medicine and a prescription drug for depression, which wasn't a factor in his death. "He had two prescription medications in his system, but they were both at therapeutic levels, so there's no issue there," Harris said.
Steve Moss was 56. Â³