According to Entertainment Weekly, the Australian born singer, who was on the Fox program in 2008, died Friday at age of 35. He apparently died of a blood clot in the ankle? How can you die from a blood clot in the ankle one may ask. Without knowing the official reports, based on the news that out there about his death a blood clot in the ankle is noted as the cause of death. I am assuming that he died from a clot that started in the ankle / calf and travelled to his lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism, AKA P.E. as noted in the medical text and jargon.
How do you get a blood clot in the ankle /calf. One way is sitting still on a flight or any situation for along time with blood pooling in the legs, the blood then clots in deep leg veins causing swelling due to the blood not being able to return to the heart. When a clot breaks off and does return, it is lodged in a pulmonary vessel causing difficulty in oxygen exchange in the lung tissues. Depending on the location and size of the clot this could cause some serious damage leading to death.
Being overweight and inactive, being on birth control pills, being immobilized after an injury in cast, being immobile while on a long flight or drive, genetic clotting disorder, smoking, family history of blood clots etc. Any combination of the above can be a recipe for disaster. If you are having surgery of the lower extremity and have any of the risk factors above or combination of such, notify your surgeon ahead of time where proper tests can be done as well as proper post operative protocols can be done to help prevent most blood clotting situations, nothing is 100% in medicine. I have seen people with bunion surgery go onto having these clots.
Symptoms include: swelling of legs, coughing, radiating pain to the arm / chest, deep pain in one or both legs with swelling, severe varicose veins, redness of the leg (s), difficulty breathing, feeling tired / light headedness, looking pale / clammy or discolored skin, rapid / irregular beating heart etc.
Mayo clinic information
NIH Source on pulmonary embolism.
Disclaimer: as of this writing, I do not have the official report of his death, only information out there at this time is death due to blood clot in his ankle. This is the most common way you can die from a blood clot originating in the ankle, him being a star from American Idol probably travels a great deal on airplanes and sitting still for long periods of time between performances.