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Doctors say Harding died of apoplexy

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 3, 1923 (UP) - President Harding died "from apoplexy or a rupture of a blood vessel in the axis of the brain near the respiratory center," his five physicians said in a formal statement issued at midnight.

The statement said:

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"Last spring, following a long period of overwork and great strain, President Harding was confined to his bed with an attack of influenza which was followed by a few nocturnal attacks of labored breathing.

"His recovery was slow and he had not fully regained his normal strength and health when he started out on the trip to Alaska. He had also had some attacks of abdominal pain and indigestion and at times he had some pain associated with a feeling of oppression in the chest.

"For some years his systolic blood pressure had ranged around 180 and there was evidence of some arterial sclerosis, enlargement of the heart and defective action of the kidneys.

"Except for fatigue and the fact that his blood vessels were some years older than the rest of his body, he was in reasonably good health.

"On the return trip from Alaska he had an acute gastro-intestinal attack associated with abdominal pain and fever.

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"In spite of his illness he insisted on putting thru his program of speaking in Vancouver and Seattle. He had considerable difficulty in completing his address in Seattle because of weakness and pain.

"Because of this, he was persuaded to come directly to San Francisco and arrived at the Palace Hotel, Sunday morning, July 29.

"He dressed and walked to the automobile from the train. Sunday evening a consultation was called because his temperature had risen to 102 and his pulse and respiration were abnormally rapid.

"The abdominal difficulty had by this time become localized in the gall bladder region, but there was general toxemia with fever and leucocytosis.

"A central broncho-pneumonia soon developed on the left side. It was accompanied by short circulatory collapses with cold sweats and an irregular breathing, suggestive of arteriosclerosis of the brain vessels in the region of the respiratory center.

"Under treatment, marked improvement in the pneumonia and circulatory disturbances took place and Thursday, Aug. 2, he was free from fever and pain; the acute lung pain was practically gone.

"He was resting comfortably in bed and conversing with Mrs. Harding and General Sawyer when he died instantaneously without a word or a groan.

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"We all believe he died from apoplexy or a rupture of a blood vessel in the axis of the brain near the respiratory center.

"His death came after recovery from the acute illness was in process. It might have occurred at any time. One of his sisters died suddenly in the same manner.

(Signed) "C.E. Sawyer, M.D."

"Ray L. Wilbur, M.D."

"C.M. Cooper, M.D."

"Hubert Work, M.D."

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