Fort Worth

April 27, 2014

Popular TCU grad died of heart disease, the New York ME ruled

Clay York, 21, died in December in New York City of a disease that prevented his heart muscle from working properly.

Heart disease caused the death last December of a popular TCU graduate, the New York City medical examiner has ruled.

Clay York, 21, went to New York City last year after graduation to pursue a career in dancing. He was found dead Dec. 22 at an address in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan.

Investigators determined that the cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy, Julie Bolcer, NYC medical examiner’s spokeswoman, said Friday.

The ailment, according to the American Heart Association, causes the heart muscle to dilate and stretch, making it thinner. Consequently, the muscle can’t contract properly and blood circulation is diminished.

“Manner of death is natural,” Bolcer said.

The heart association says there are numerous causes for dilated cardiomyopathy. It mostly occurs in adults ages 20-60, and affects more men than women, the association says.

York’s family could not be reached for comment.

York, an honor student and accomplished dancer, graduated magna cum laude last May from TCU. He had a double major in ballet and modern dance and minored in journalism.

He was known as an ever-smiling gregarious man and loyal friend to fellow students, faculty and administrators.

The student body crowned him “Mr. TCU” at homecoming 2012.

In New York, he apprenticed with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and was a marketing intern for the Gibney Dance Company.

His death jolted the TCU community. Although it was announced during Christmas holiday break, students swarmed social media to honor him, including numerous posts on a Facebook page titled “Best Memories of Clay York.”

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