Authorities say the cause of death for the Hawaii health director who died after an airplane crashed off the island of Molokai was cardiac arrhythmia — an irregular heartbeat.
Loretta Fuddy died due to the stress from the horrific Dec. 11 plunge into the water after the single-engine Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft lost power, Maui police said Monday.
The pilot and eight other passengers aboard the aircraft all survived without significant injuries. They were rescued by emergency crews, said Richard Schuman, the president of Makani Kai Air.
Clyde Kawasaki, the pilot, has said Fuddy seemed to be in fine condition while bobbing in the water after everyone left the airplane and waited for rescue crews to show up at the scene.
Fuddy first hit the headlines two years ago when she approved a waiver request allowing President Barack Obama to access certified copies of his long form birth certificate — a document signed by the delivery doctor, Obama's mother and the local registrar.
"Birthers" — proponents of the theory that Obama was not born in the U.S. states — had longed questioned why Obama had not ensured the long form certificate was released.
Because of that connection, Fuddy's death in December sparked a wave of conspiracy theorizing on the internet and various media outlets.
The National Transportation Safety Board is probing the incident. Its preliminary report stated the airplane floated for roughly 25 minutes before sinking.