Jose Lima likely died of heart failure

Updated: September 9, 2010, 1:54 PM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNDeportes.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The autopsy report for Jose Lima suggests that the former major leaguer probably died of heart failure and reveals there was no trace of illegal substances in his system.

"Now Jose will be able to rest in peace," Lima's widow, Dorca Astacio, told ESPNdeportes.com on Thursday. "Those of us who loved Jose have not only suffered his death, but also the quick judgments lashed out by many people about the supposed reasons for his death."

The report, which was prepared by Dr. Ajay J. Panchal, an examiner of the Los Angeles Department of Coroners, states that Lima's body tested positive for moderate levels of alcohol but that the cause of death is still "undetermined after autopsy and toxicology studies."

Lima's autopsy was completed in August; however, family members received a copy of the report on Wednesday.

"The heart shows mild hypertrophy; perivascular and interstitial fibrosis are also present," Panchal states in the report. "The decedent likely died of a cardiac arrhythmia. Cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis are risk factors for fatal cardiac arrhythmia."

The 37-year-old Lima's body was found by Astacio on the morning of May 23 in the couple's home in Pasadena.

Lima had an 89-102 record with a 5.26 ERA while pitching for the Tigers, Astros, Royals, Dodgers and Mets over 13 seasons. His best season came with Houston in 1999 when he went 21-10 with a 3.58 ERA. He made his only All-Star Game that season and was fourth in Cy Young voting.

Lima threw his last pitch in the majors in 2006, but he remained active playing winter league baseball in his native Dominican Republic.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter for ESPNDeportes.com.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.