ESPN reporter’s sudden death at 34: The surprise that autopsy revealed

(CNN) — The death of ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff on his 34th
birthday was puzzling to many: How could pneumonia kill a young
person who had been in good health?

Edward
Aschoff (ESPN) 

Now his fiancée has revealed that, though he did not know it,
Aschoff had stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in his lungs.

Aschoff
died on December 24
with a diagnosis of pneumonia and a rare
disease known as hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). He had
first gone to the emergency room three weeks earlier for flu-like
symptoms and tweeted on Dec. 4 about having pneumonia.

In announcing the findings of a post-mortem lung biopsy, fiancee
Katy Berteau said Wednesday: “He would have wanted everyone to
know that something way bigger than pneumonia took him down.”

“Both pneumonia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma can trigger HLH in
the body, and that is seemingly what happened with Edward,” she
said. “All of this combined is what led to his very rapid decline
those last few days, and ultimately his passing.”

HLH is a rare disorder that affects the immune system, making
certain white blood cells attack other blood cells and enlarging
the spleen and liver, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

About a quarter of cases are passed down through families, and
the rest come from infections, a weakened immune system or
cancer.

Berteau described Aschoff’s lymphoma as “an aggressive type
of cancer that is usually undetectable until it is very
advanced.”

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that forms in the lymph system,
which is part of the immune system that helps the body fight
infection and disease, according to the National Cancer
Institute.

Aschoff himself had expressed surprise about the severity of his
illness. He first started feeling flu-like symptoms while covering
the Ohio State-Michigan game on Nov. 30, and two days later he went
to the emergency room.

On December 5, a few days after his pneumonia diagnosis, he
tweeted: “Anyone ever had multifocal (bilateral) pneumonia in
their early 30s as someone who never gets sick and has a very good
immune system? Asking for two friends … my lungs.”

Antibiotics did not work and he got worse. Doctors began
treating him for a presumed diagnosis of HLH. He died three days
after being moved to intensive care.

Aschoff, a college football reporter, began working for ESPN in
2011.  He moved to Los Angeles in 2017 to begin a more expanded
national role that included television coverage.

He and Berteau were to be married in April.

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Source: FS – All – Interesting – News 2
ESPN reporter’s sudden death at 34: The surprise that autopsy revealed