Windell D. Middlebrooks, who became famous as the “Miller High Life” guy on beer commercials, died suddenly at 36 despite being in seemingly good health. Now the autopsy has revealed that the actor’s death was due to a blood clot, reported TMZ.
And although the official cause of death was a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that traveled to his lungs), Middlebrooks’ apparent good health was deceptive. At 400 pounds, his obesity made him a potential patient for problems ranging from hypertension to a heart attack, said sources.
Although his death occurred Monday in his home in California, his family is still requesting his body so that they can have a funeral, reported the Daily Mail.
The family issued a statement about Windell’s passing.
“The Middlebrooks, with sorrowed hearts, announce the passing of a young, black star. Windell took his final bow and with great joy exited stage left in the early morning of March 9, 2015. It was Windell’s biggest wish that his final scene not be lived on social media. Further details will be forthcoming once the family members’ plans have been finalized.”
In addition to the commercial that made him famous, Windell co-starred in Body of Proof with Geoffrey Arend, who offered his own memories.
“I will remember him as that once-in-a-lifetime type of person: an incredible actor, a gifted performer and a fantastic human being,” said Arend. “I truly believe he brought out the best in everyone around him. I know he did that for me. He will be missed.”
The actor also appeared on Scrubs and The Bernie Mac Show. After earning his MFA from the University of California, Irvine, Windell earned his early acting credits on Disney shows, including Hannah Montana.
What causes a blood clot in someone so young? A number of factors can increase the risk, including obesity and heart trouble, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
And blood clots can travel quickly. Although they typically form in veins in the legs and arms (one reason why travelers on long plane rides are advised to move around), they can then progress to the lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism.
Symptoms of a blood clot in the lungs include chest pain, problems beating, and a rapidly beating heartbeat. Blood clot symptoms can include warmness, a red spot, or swelling.
Physicians warn that obesity at any age can contribute to a host of problems. Most recently, The Doctors staged an intervention for Honey Boo Boo, who is dangerously obese despite her young age, as the Inquisitr reported.
Obesity on its own increases the risk for conditions ranging from diabetes, to hypertension and heart disease, cautioned The Doctors co-host Dr. Travis. However, the episode also revealed that Honey Boo Boo has asthma, which Dr. Travis linked to inflammation caused by her weight gain diet.[Photo By Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images]