Actor Bill Paxton died of stroke days after undergoing surgery to fix an aortic aneurysm and repair a heart defect, according to his death certificate. He was 61 years old. His surgery was on February 14 and the actor died 11 days later from a post-surgical stroke. It is one of the most common cardiac birth defects and is estimated to be present in 2 percent of the population, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
"It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery", a family representative told The Huffington Post when the news broke. "We ask to please respect the family's wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father", a representative for his family had said in a statement released to a U.S. weekly. Complications from that surgery caused his fatal stroke.
The death certificate says Paxton underwent heart surgery on Valentine's Day - undergoing a procedure for a valve replacement to correct an aneurysm.
An aortic aneurysm is "a weakened or bulging area on the wall of the aorta", which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body, according to the American Heart Association. When such a problem is diagnosed, surgery is performed to fix the aorta. In the minutes after a stroke, brain cells begin to die.
Paxton starred in films such as Twister, Titanic and Aliens and the HBO series Big Love. In addition to more than 90 acting credits, Paxton was a director on films such as "The Greatest Game Ever Played" and "Frailty".