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Coroner Confirms Cause of Death for 20-Year-Old College Football Player

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A coroner in Las Vegas has announced that the death of a 20-year-old college football player in February was caused by a naturally occurring heart condition.

Ryan Keeler, a sophomore defensive end for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, was found unresponsive in his apartment on Feb. 20. He was later pronounced dead.

No cause of death was revealed while authorities awaited the results of an autopsy.

The Clark County coroner’s office revealed Monday that Keeler suffered from a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, The Associated Press reported.

The condition is characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle, which ultimately leads to an irregular heartbeat that can prove fatal.

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According to the autopsy report, Keeler’s death was caused by the condition. The coroner’s office classified his death as natural.


Las Vegas police had launched an investigation into Keeler’s unexpected passing but were waiting on the release of the coroner’s report.

Robert Wicks with the police department said the investigation is now officially closed.

A week after Keeler’s death, TMZ Sports shared a police report that offered a little more insight into the circumstances surrounding his death.

According to the report, Keeler had been suffering from nausea the week before he died and was prescribed an undisclosed medication by a team doctor.

The day before he died, Keeler reportedly told a friend that he was feeling “a little better.”

The next day, an assistant coach found Keeler “cold to the touch” during a welfare check.

The 6-foot-6, 275-pound Keeler transferred to UNLV after his freshmen season in 2021. He began his college football career at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

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The Chicago native played in seven games for UNLV last season and earned a place on the Mountain West All-Academic team with a GPA of 3.8.

UNLV head coach Barry Odom, who was hired in the offseason and had not yet coached Keeler in a game, said in a statement that the young man’s death had “devastated” the program.

“While I had the honor of knowing Ryan for only a couple of months, he already stood out to our coaching staff as an incredible person, student and teammate,” Odom said.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.




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