‘9-1-1’ Crew Member’s Cause of Death Confirmed: Sudden Cardiac Dysfunction


On May 11, 9-1-1 crew member Rico Priem tragically passed away while driving home from a grueling 14-hour overnight shift. The cause of his untimely death has now been confirmed by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner: Priem died from sudden cardiac dysfunction. At 66 years old, his death has been classified as natural.

Autopsy Findings and Toxicology Report

According to reports from Variety, Deadline, and TV Insider, the autopsy revealed that Priem’s sudden cardiac arrest was the direct cause of his death. The toxicology report confirmed that there were no traces of alcohol or other drugs in his system, affirming that his death was purely due to natural causes.

The Mayo Clinic explains that symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest are typically immediate and severe. These symptoms can include a sudden collapse, absence of pulse, cessation of breathing, and loss of consciousness. Although there are warning signs such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, weakness, and heart palpitations, sudden cardiac arrest often strikes without warning.

The Incident

The fatal incident occurred as Priem was driving his Toyota Highlander north on the 57 Freeway near Via Verde Drive in San Dimas, California. His vehicle veered off the road, ascended an embankment, and ultimately flipped onto its roof. This tragic accident was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Priem was returning from a filming location in Pomona, California, after completing a long overnight shift. His death has highlighted the potential dangers faced by industry workers who often endure extended and demanding work hours.

'9-1-1' Crew Member's Cause of Death Confirmed: Sudden Cardiac Dysfunction

Statements and Reactions

In response to Priem’s passing, 20th Television released a heartfelt statement expressing their condolences. “On behalf of the studio and everyone at 9-1-1, we send our sincere and deepest condolences to Rico Priem’s family and friends,” the statement read.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), of which Priem was a member, also issued a statement online. They emphasized their commitment to the safety and well-being of their members. “Workers have a reasonable expectation that they can get to work and come home safely. No one should be put in unsafe circumstances while trying to earn a living,” the statement read.

Tribute from Colleagues

The death of Rico Priem profoundly affected the cast and crew of 9-1-1. Angela Bassett, one of the stars of the show, spoke to Entertainment Tonight about how the team came together to honor their colleague. “The studio, 9-1-1, we all extend our deepest condolences to his friends, to his family. It was just a very, very sad moment. We’re all rocked by it, certainly,” she said. Bassett described it as the first death the team had experienced together, noting how they often celebrate joyous occasions like births and weddings. The shock of Priem’s death was a sobering moment for everyone involved.

“We thought it was important to come together and have whatever bit of service and offer whatever we can do to his family, ’cause we know that we’ll miss him but we know they will miss him even more,” Bassett added. The crew organized a small service to honor Priem, reflecting their collective grief and their desire to support his family during this difficult time.

Work Conditions and Safety Concerns

The tragic circumstances surrounding Rico Priem’s death have raised important questions about work conditions within the entertainment industry. The grueling schedules and extended hours that many crew members endure can take a significant toll on their health and well-being. Priem’s death serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers of such demanding work conditions.

The statement from IATSE underscores the necessity for safe working environments and the responsibility of employers to ensure the health and safety of their workers. The organization’s call for better protections and reasonable work hours is a crucial step towards preventing similar tragedies in the future.

Remembering Rico Priem

Rico Priem’s passing has left a significant void in the lives of those who knew him. He was a dedicated crew member who contributed greatly to the success of 9-1-1. His colleagues remember him not only for his professional skills but also for his warmth and camaraderie.

The tragedy of Priem’s sudden death has touched many, and his story has resonated widely, prompting discussions about worker safety and the often-overlooked challenges faced by those behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. His family, friends, and colleagues continue to mourn his loss and honor his memory.

In conclusion, Rico Priem’s death from sudden cardiac dysfunction after a long overnight shift has shed light on critical issues regarding work conditions and safety in the entertainment industry. His passing has sparked a conversation about the need for better protections and reasonable working hours for crew members. As the industry reflects on this loss, the hope is that it will lead to meaningful changes that prioritize the health and well-being of all workers, ensuring that tragedies like this can be prevented in the future.

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