RALEIGH — Former Commerce Secretary and congressional candidate Keith Crisco’s sudden death on May 12 was due to heart problems, the state medical examiner disclosed Tuesday.
Crisco, 71, collapsed at his home, the day before he planned to concede to Clay Aiken, his opponent in the close Democratic primary campaign to challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers.
According to the medical examiner’s report, Crisco had a history of high blood pressure, and the autopsy disclosed hypertension and severe arteriosclerosis.
Crisco had planned to fly to a friend’s funeral in Texas the day he died, but he was unable to book a flight, according to the autopsy report. Crisco called his wife and said he would be home after running errands.
As previously reported, his wife heard him come in the front door of their home in Asheboro and collapse. The report attributed his death to heart disease and high blood pressure.
Crisco, founder and owner of a textile firm in Asheboro, had spent most of his time earlier this year vigorously covering the campaign trail, frequently crossing paths with former pop music star Aiken and, occasionally, third-place finisher Toni Morris of Fayetteville.
In the end, Aiken’s margin of victory over Crisco was less than 400 votes, but it was enough to avoid a runoff.
Before the final votes were canvassed, there was a chance that the margin would be close enough for Crisco to call for a recount. But by May 12, he had decided he wouldn’t do that, and planned to call Aiken the next day to concede and congratulate him.
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