ATHLETICS: Epileptic fit killed `Flo-Jo'

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The Independent Online
FLORENCE GRIFFITH JOYNER died of an epileptic fit that did not appear to be related to any abnormal drug use, according to results of an autopsy released yesterday, writes Andrew Gumbel from Los Angeles.

The former Olympic sprint champion and multiple gold medallist was found lifeless in her bed last month at the age of 38 - a death so sudden that it renewed the same suspicions of drug-taking that often dogged her running career.

Authorities in Orange County, the suburban community south of Los Angeles where Griffith Joyner lived, said toxicology tests had shown up only traces of Tylenol and Benadryl, over-the-counter medicines used for colds and fever. Instead, they ruled that the cause of death was suffocation during an epileptic seizure. Her heart and other vital organs showed no signs of abnormality.

"We now hope that this great Olympic champion, wife and mother can rest in peace, and that her millions of admirers around the world will celebrate her legacy to sport and children every day," the US Olympic Committee president, Bill Hybl, said. "It is time for the whispers and dark allegations to cease."

Griffith Joyner was found by her husband Al Joyner at home in Mission Viejo at 6.30 in the morning.

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