Bill Paxton‘s own family had no idea he was preparing to undergo the surgery that killed him, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.
As Radar reported, the Twister star died of complications during surgery last week. Paxton, 61, reportedly suffered a fatal stroke while undergoing heart surgery to correct a damaged valve.
But Jon Otten, who is married to Paxton’s sister, Ann, told Radar that the tragedy came as a total shock to family members.
“We didn’t even know he was going to go into surgery,” Otten told Radar. “It’s very tragic and sudden.”
Otten said Paxton was close with family members, which only makes the loss that much more heartbreaking.
“I’m sure his wife knew, but no one in the extended family knew,” Otten claimed.
Just weeks before his death, Paxton revealed that he had suffered valve damage from a case of rheumatic fever as a child. But Otten says it’s not yet clear what caused the stroke.
“We don’t know his condition and how easy it was to fix,” Otten said. “He was healthy from what we knew.”
Experts say for an otherwise healthy man of his age, the risk of stroke during heart-valve surgery is less than 1 percent.
“There was the main surgery and they went back in to tune it up,” Otten explained. “If you’re going to have heart surgery you have to get it right the first time.”
There are no funeral plans yet for the actor, as the family continues to deal with the devastating loss. But Otten said his brother-in-law won’t soon be forgotten.
“We are proud of his legacy. He had quite an outpouring of support from fans and friends. It was quite a celebration of a good life,” Otten said.
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