Disney Channel Star Michael Galeota Dead at 31
UPDATE (9/12): Several months later, a cause of death has been determined by a death certificate, obtained by TMZ.
"The document -- obtained by TMZ -- shows the actor's cause of death was atherosclerosis heart disease...a build-up of plaque that clogs the artery wall. Hypertension is also listed as a significant factor...he'd been battling high cholesterol and diverticulitis -- inflammation of the digestive tract." the site reports.
Disney channel actor Michael Galeota has died at the age of 31.
According to TMZ, the actor -- who starred in the series The Jersey -- went to the hospital last week, telling doctors he was having abdominal pains. He reportedly left the hospital last Wednesday (January 6), against doctors’ advice.
Galeota was apparently unreachable over the weekend, so one of his friends went to his house in Glendale yesterday (January 10) to check on his status. After Galeota failed to answer the door, the friend climbed into his apartment through a window where he allegedly found Galeota’s lifeless body lying in the living room.
TMZ says Galeota reportedly had a history of hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as diverticulitis, which is inflammation of the digestive track.
Although an autopsy is scheduled to take place, his death is reportedly being treated as a result of "natural causes,” though TMZ notes a source claims Galeota “was not following medical advice."
Galeota's loved ones created a GoFundMe page to help with the price of funeral costs, writing, "It is with tremendous heartfelt sadness to announce the passing of Michael James Galeota on January 10th. He died peacefully at home." In just six hours, 77 people have donated over $12,000 of the $25,000 goal.
Galeota is perhaps best known for his role as Nick Lighter on the Disney Channel series The Jersey. The popular television show -- its premise followed a group of of teenagers who find a magic jersey that transports them into the bodies of famous sports athletes during pivotal games -- ran from 1999 to 2004. Before landing that role, he also appeared in the 1996 movie Clubhouse Detectives and had a small role in the pilot episode of Ally McBeal.
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