Former Colorado Rockies President Keli McGregor died four months ago of a virus that infected his healthy heart, not from a heart attack or any other preventable condition, his family said in a statement.
McGregor was on a business trip in Salt Lake City with other executives for the Major League Baseball team when he was found dead in his hotel room, leaving behind a wife and four children. He was 48.
McGregor’s family said he had “the heart of a lion” and had been an advocate for the early detection and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
“Keli lived an active life and had his cardiovascular status evaluated regularly,” according to the family statement released by the Rockies. “Unfortunately, even a heart as strong as Keli’s can, in rare cases, fall victim to these microscopic viral invaders.”
McGregor likely contracted the infection during the final week of his life and the viral myocarditis caused nothing more than flu-like symptoms, his family said. The virus infiltrated his heart muscle and disrupted the electrical pathways that signal the heart to beat properly.
“Just as a healthy brain can be infected with viral meningitis, a healthy heart can be infected with viral myocarditis,” McGregor’s family said.
A two-time All-American tight end at Colorado State, McGregor was drafted in the fourth round by the Denver Broncos in 1985 and played two seasons in the National Football League. He joined the Rockies in 1993 and was named team president in October 2001. Colorado reached its first World Series in 2007 before being swept by the Boston Red Sox.