Dr. Oz Gives Medical Perspective on Alan Thicke’s Fatal Heart Attack

Dr. Mehmet Oz opened up exclusively with Us Weekly about the passing of his friend Alan Thicke.

"He was a great guy," the TV personality, 56, tells Us. "Alan had Thanksgiving dinner with us at my wife’s family's house in Pennsylvania many years ago. We had a met a few times through mutual friends, and he was filming in Philly and was too far to fly home."

On Tuesday, Thicke died at age 69 after having a heart attack while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son, Carter. According to Dr. Oz, heart attacks are more frequent in the winter, possibly due to a mix of "a sedentary lifestyle and sudden activity in cold weather." The bitter weather can cause a shriveling of blood vessels, which lessens the amount of oxygen that feeds heart muscle.

Dr. Oz and Alan Thicke
Dr. Oz and Alan Thicke Cindy Ord/Getty Images; Greg Doherty/Getty Images

"[He] is the classic American Father, but unfortunately succumbed to the main reason Americans lose their fathers," Dr. Oz says. "We have made major inroads to reduce the loss of life by over half in Alan’s lifetime, but as evidenced by his loss, we still have a long way to go."

As previously reported, Thicke was coherent and speaking while he was being transported to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. Dr. Oz explained why it's possible for someone's condition to go from bad to worse in such a situation.

"He was awake while going to hospital and even feeling better because either the blood vessel had temporarily reopened or with rest, the heart muscle could tolerate less blood flow, but when the narrowed artery finally closed, his heart could not pump enough blood. [He may have] needed to sit up because heart was not pumping blood so he developed pulmonary edema," he tells Us. "Alternatively, he had an arrhythmia in the hospital since closed arteries cause energy imbalance in heart cells so they short-circuit."

Thicke is survived by his wife, Tanya Thicke, and three adult sons: Robin, Brennan and Carter Thicke.

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