News :: Local

Autopsy of Chef Charlie Trotter Inconclusive

by Don Babwin
Thursday Nov 7, 2013
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  (Source:Sitthixay Ditthavong, AP)

An autopsy on acclaimed chef Charlie Trotter found no signs of foul play or trauma Wednesday, but officials will conduct further tests to determine the exact cause of death.

In a news release, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said that the tests would include toxicology analysis, but did not list the type of tests or the reason for doing them. The news release said the tests could take as long as two months to complete.

Trotter, 54, was declared dead Tuesday at a Chicago hospital after paramedics found him unresponsive in his home. After his death, friends and co-workers said that in recent years they had become increasingly worried about his health, which they said appeared to be deteriorating.

Norman Van Aken, an early Trotter mentor and a close family friend, said the chef was hospitalized in New York this summer after having a seizure, but he did not know if that was related to his death. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office made no mention of a seizure or any other specific health problems in its news release.

Larry Stone, a longtime friend and sommelier who once worked for Trotter, said doctors had advised the chef years ago not to fly or exert himself but that Trotter was determined to remain active. Trotter traveled extensively and operated his namesake Charlie Trotter’s restaurant, one of the nation’s most famous, until the summer of 2012.

When Trotter closed the restaurant, he said he planned to study philosophy. Stone said he believed Trotter’s health also played a role.

"He didn’t like the idea (of closing) but ... it was taking a toll and he needed to release himself from the restaurant and take a break," said Stone. "We were all concerned about him."

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