Coroner to investigate Walters' cause of death

2014-01-09 20:40:23

The official cause of death of former Mater Dei star water polo player Jon Walters remains unknown, but new details in the case emerged Thursday.

An autopsy will be performed on Walters, 19, who died Wednesday afternoon at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, said Lt. Jeff Hallock, a spokesman for the O.C. Sheriff’s Department.

Hallock said the USC freshman was “brought” unresponsive to Chapman Medical Center in Orange on Jan. 1. Walters was transferred a few days later to Western Medical Center, where he remained until he died, Hallock said.

Walters’ father, Bill, said Wednesday night that his son died of a heart attack after falling into a coma Jan. 1 and battling pneumonia and kidney failure.

USC coach Jovan Vavic said Thursday that Walters had surgery on his left elbow last month after helping the Trojans capture a record sixth consecutive NCAA title. Walters, the Register’s player of the year in 2012, hoped to recover from the surgery by March or April, Vavic said.

“We’re all hurting,” said Vavic, who visited the Walters family Thursday at their Newport Coast home. “The healing process will take time.”

A memorial service for Walters has been scheduled for Jan. 18 at Mariners Church of Irvine at 11 a.m. The Walters family requests that all water polo players in attendance wear their club or college team shirts.

“He was a good friend,” said USC water polo player Mac Carden, a former JSerra standout who played age-group with Walters. “One of the most inspirational guys I’ve met.”

USA Water Polo issued a statement on Walters on Thursday.

"We at USA Water Polo are saddened to learn of the passing of Jon Walters," CEO Chris Ramsey said. "It is tragic. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all who were touched by him."

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com

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