Collier autopsy to remain private until after funeral

Updated: October 17, 2005, 5:53 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Jason Collier's family asked that results of his autopsy be kept private until after Wednesday's funeral.

Royal Ivey
AP Photo/Nell RedmondHawks players wore sneakers with the message "R.I.P. JC" to honor teammate Jason Collier during their preseason game against the Bobcats.

Collier, the Atlanta Hawks' 28-year-old center, died early Saturday after he had trouble breathing in his north Georgia home.

"We need to make sure we're very thorough with this," Forsyth County Coroner Lauren McDonald III said Monday. "It's a situation that may take time. I really don't want to say too much until after the service, out of respect for the family, as far as talking about the results. They would appreciate if we could not discuss that aspect until after the service."

Collier's agent, Richard Howell, said Monday that the autopsy has not been released only because it is not finished.

"I've talked to the family today and the autopsy remains incomplete," Howell said. "It will definitely be days if not weeks before the pathologists complete their work. The family is anxious to know what happened but understands that a thorough autopsy takes time."

On Monday in Charlotte, N.C., Collier's uniform hung in an empty locker as the Hawks lost a preseason game to the Charlotte Bobcats.

The team said it will leave the uniform in the locker and set out a chair for Collier before each game.

Jason Collier

Players will wear permanent black shoulder patches on their uniforms to honor Collier, who was a part-time starter the last two seasons for Atlanta after three years in Houston. He began his college career at Indiana before transferring to Georgia Tech.

McDonald said his office is pulling Collier's medical records from the Rockets and Hawks and forwarding that information to the pathologist.

Foul play is not a suspected cause of death, he said.

"There is not anything that would cause anyone to think there was any foul play," McDonald said.

"I look at this guy as being as healthy as can be. It shocked me and shocked the family and of course the sports community. We want to make sure we do this very thoroughly, just as on any 28-year-old you would want to know, even if he wasn't in the good health Mr. Collier was."

McDonald originally indicated results of the autopsy could be available Saturday night or Sunday. On Sunday he said it would be at least Monday before the results would be released.

"We want to make sure we give you the correct answers," McDonald said. "We're just asking for everyone to be patient."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press