NC State

Charles Shackleford died of an enlarged heart, autopsy says

Former N.C. State basketball standout Charles Shackleford died of an enlarged heart, according to an autopsy released by the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Monday.

No drugs contributed to Shackleford’s death, according to the autopsy.

Shackleford, 50, was found dead at his home on Rouse Road on the morning of Jan. 27, according to Kinston Police Department spokesman Woody Spencer. Police and the medical examiner’s office said there was no foul play.

The autopsy lists the cause of death as “cardiomegaly,” or an enlarged heart, along with left ventricular hypertrophy, the most common type of hypertrophic heart disease.

The autopsy said Shackleford was found dead in his bathroom “after an apparent sudden collapse.” The autopsy said Shackleford had some abrasions and lacerations but those were attributed to his collapse “in an enclosed space.”

Shackleford was a controversial figure at N.C. State, known for his immense talent but also his off-court troubles. He helped N.C. State win an ACC title in 1987 – the program’s last ACC crown. Shackleford, an All-ACC forward in 1988, later spent six seasons in the NBA and was, to Wolfpack fans, the original “Shack.”

But he also was at the center of the program-wide turmoil that led to former coach Jim Valvano’s ouster in 1990.

Shackleford was arrested several times on drug-related charges.

In 2010, he was accused in Kinston of selling prescription drugs to an undercover deputy during a sting operation. He reportedly had no assets left from his time playing in the NBA, and a court-appointed attorney was assigned to him. The charges were dismissed, according to court reports, for lack of evidence.

Chris Cioffi contributed to this report.

Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett