Malden (born Mladen Sekulovich) was an Oscar-winning actor known for his numerous movie roles, including A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront, The Streets of San Francisco (a popular TV series co-starring Michael Douglas) and for his American Express commercials which popularized the expression, “Don’t leave home without it.” He died at his Los Angeles home at the age of 97. The cause of death is reported as “natural causes.”
“Natural causes” is a frequently given cause of death – but what specifically does it mean? Specifying a cause of death is required by law in all states. Death certification provides public health statistics and prevents cover-ups of murder. A death certificate requires two things:
Natural causes is a loosely-defined term used by coroners describing death when the cause of death was a naturally occurring disease process, or is not apparent given medical history orcircumstances. As long as a physician familiar with the patient agrees to sign the death certificate, no autopsy in required.
At Mr. Malden’s age, the most likely cause of death is heart failure. Even when a patient has no heart problems or other conditions, a body’s key cells and tissues can just wear down. It’s not so much a disease process, as a natural biological condition – the body just doesn’t last forever.
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