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Autopsy Reveals Shawn Tompkins Died of a Heart Attack

According to Shawn Tompkins’ brother-in-law and longtime friend and fighter Sam Stout, the revered Ingersoll, Ontario-born trainer died from a heart attack.

Stout revealed the tragic news to the London Free Press on Tuesday.

“I don’t know what to say,” Stout said. “It’s not supposed to be happen to a healthy 37-year-old person. Who would think he had to get checked out for that?”

Tompkins went to bed at a friend’s house following an MMA event in Hamilton, Ontario Saturday night and did not wake up. News of the affable 37-year-old’s passing sent shockwaves through the close-knit MMA community and cast a cloud over Sunday night’s UFC Live on Versus 5 event after UFC commentator Mike Goldberg announced the tragedy during the broadcast.

Funeral arrangements are being made today. Stout’s sister and Tompkins’ widow, Emilie arrived in London last night and will be making funeral arrangements for her husband today with the help of her supportive family.

A memorial is being planned for Tompkins in his adopted hometown of Las Vega, Nevada where he lived for the past four years and trained and coached some of MMA’s best fighters including Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Mark Coleman, Gray Maynard, Jay Hieron and Karo Parisyan at Xtreme Couture and TapouT Training Center. A proud Canadian, Tompkins told me in an interview just over a week ago that he moved to the U.S. to help his core team of Stout, Mark Hominick and Chris Horodecki by expanding the depth of their pool of talented training partners and to spread the teachings he adopted from his mentor, Bas Rutten’s system.

memorial guestbook has been established for fans and friends wishing to express their sympathies to Shawn’s Team Tompkins family.

Tompkins’  manager Gary Ibarra from AMR Group has set up The Shawn Tompkins Memorial Fund, which is currently accepting contributions to assist Emilie with funeral and burial costs.

“Shawn was more than a client,” Ibarra stated via press release. “His passion and vision for MMA was infectious, evident by how he could motivate his fighters to become better athletes and people.On behalf of AMR Group’s athletes and staff, we extend our deepest sympathies to Emilie, Sam and Shawn’s entire family. His spirit will live on in our hearts.”

To contribute to Tompkins’ memorial fund, send an email to Details of the memorial service will be announced in the coming days at

Cagepotato Comments

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JThunder- August 17, 2011 at 10:47 am
Hmm. Odd that my previous comment has disappeared. I won't bother re-posting it, but I do find it curious.
XENOPHON- August 17, 2011 at 9:13 am
@Me likey
That's right, gossip and speculation comes with the turf when someone becomes a celebrity.
Ps...who was it that mentioned the Von Zondies, C'mon C'mon...great tune for the remembrance of someone that expired early in life.
RwilsonR- August 17, 2011 at 7:41 am
Thanks MRuss. Interesting info. So essentially, ShawnTompkins died because he had too much heart.
Me likey- August 17, 2011 at 4:27 am
for one i wasn't commemorating his achievements so how is it being hypocritical to question how a healthy 37 year old dies of a heart attack? i never implied that he did. i said it would pop up in the post death speculation and it has. i seriously doubt any of his friends or family are on cagepotato going through the comments to see how we feel about their loved ones death. take the stick outta your ass.
XENOPHON- August 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm
I got elksnyper's back in this...he came straight out and said:

"My job is related…so if what I am about to say seems insensitive, understand it is not meant to be. Just science."
Around here, the late Mr. Tompkins is not much different than the celebrity Amy Winehouse is to some women.
Unless someone that knew him actually has something to say, the odds are his number was simply up. Nothing wrong with dying in ones sleep.
Mike Russell- August 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm
According to Shawn's manager Gary Ibarra, he had an enlarged heart and some blockage of the aorta and the condition was hereditary.

Both of my maternal grandparents have enlarged hearts which is a rarity I'm told, but it also doubles the chances that I have the same condition. I'm going to talk to my doctor about it the next time I'm in his office.
AndyInflammatory- August 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm
I understand the curiosity RWilson, but for somebody to be commemorating Shawns achievements in the sport in the same paragraph as back-handedly speculating on his death (via illegal/unsporting means) is a bit hypocritical.
XENOPHON- August 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm
Each good and valid points as a reminder for us here with the living. When I heard the news I thought immediately of the movie "Gattaca."
[Irene has discovered Vincent's secret]
Irene: I don't even know who you are.
Vincent: I'm the same person I was yesterday.
Irene: I can't hear any more of your lies Jerome...
Vincent: My *name* is Vincent, alright? Vincent Anton Freeman, and I'm a "faith birth" or a "de-gene-erate", whatever you want to call it; but I am NOT a murderer!
Vincent: You're a "God-child"?
Vincent: [takes Irene's hand and places over his heart] But we do have one thing in common, only I don't have twenty or thirty years left in mine. Mine is already ten thousand beats overdue.
Irene: It's not possible.
RwilsonR- August 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm
@ Andy - I think everyone is trying to be respectful, but just wants to know the full story. Since few of us actually know Shawn by anything but press reports and interviews, we are just trying to find out more information given the strange circumstances of his death. I don't think it is unusual to have curiosity under these circumstances.
AndyInflammatory- August 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm
"everyone knows that steroids puts major stress on your heart. i am not saying that he used them"

thats exactly what you just implied.

all this speculation should be stopped until the poor bastard is at least in the ground - have some respect for his legacy and the feelings of his family and friends.
I Know Nothing- August 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm
The man is dead, let's leave it at that. If the family wants to know more about "why/how" he died then let them find out & they can either choose to share or not share that info but "how/why" he died is no business of ours.
elksnyper- August 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm
My job is if what I am about to say seems insensitive, understand it is not meant to be. Just science.

You guys are right, @ his age...this should not just 'happen'.

Would like to see toxicology is there is any. Cocaine or any other stimulants? Common causes of young (healthy) adults heart attack.

Was he drinking that night? If so, was he on any muscle relaxers etc? (I can list/write more but the idea and thought stands).

If negative toxicology...

Does he have a history of PED use? If so, what kind? What was his dosing? Was he checking his blood levels every week/or more? Any abnormalities there?

Lets say sterols are also negative, or at least he kept up to date with blood levels and did it correctly.

Was he/Has he used weight loss products? (Yes this comes underneath the stimulants section) however, most people do not consider stacker2/energy drinks/coffee/weight loss pills to be stimulants. They are. Weight loss pills are common for both the intended effect and energy bursts.

IF ALL THIS is negative...we must assume that arteriosclerosis is negative. I would like to see results on autopsy to be honest. I am assuming this is negative due to his age/ fitness level, and assuming no incorrect sterol usage, his cholesterol levels should have been normal.

This leads me to believe one of two things. A defect from birth. But if that is the case, damn he went through some things (fights) with no problems. Did he train earlier that day? or the day before? This would lead to a possible issue that 'just happened'. I have seen a torn aorta from a swimmer.

Either way, without actually performing autopsy/seeing report/ talking with physician who performed is all a guess.

And a damn shame.

Me likey- August 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm
yup. that is why when a young person dies suddenly of a heart condition it is always news. everyone knows that steroids puts major stress on your heart. i am not saying that he used them. it does however have to pop up when you are talking about a 37 year old in this business dies of a heart attack.
RwilsonR- August 16, 2011 at 11:09 am
I don't mean this to come out wrong, since I have a ton of respect for Tompkins, and also don't want to jump to any conclusions or be insensitive to his friends and family. However, what Karma said above is exactly not true. Young people by and large do not have major heart issues and die of heart attacks. There are statistically anomalous freak occurrences, which this could be one. However, usually at this age it is caused by either a genetic or congenital condition, or more likely, something you have done in the past or are doing currently to weaken your heart.
I'm not making any accusations, but from a curiosity perspective, I'd like to know more about what caused the heart attack.
RIP Shawn.
noizy- August 16, 2011 at 11:07 am
Yea. I kind of assumed it was cardiovascular. RIP Shawn.
KarmaAteMyCat- August 16, 2011 at 9:47 am
I had a conversation about Tompkins just the other day and I suggested that I didn't think it was drugs when he brought it up. Young people die all the time from heart complications it's just the way the cookie crumbles it's sad it happened to such a great person. RIP TOMPKINS