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Heart Issues Caused Disney Deaths

**FILE** Moses Bamuwamye holds a photo of his son Daudi Bamuwamye June 15, 2005, in Sellersville, Pa. Bamuwamye, 4, died on the "Mission: Space" ride June 13, 2005, at Disney's Epcot theme park in Florida. Bamuwamye's death was caused by abnormal cardiac rhythms from a heart condition that he apparently had since birth, according to an autopsy released Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005. (AP Photo/ The Morning Call, Steve Pestrock, File)
AP
Two children who died in separate incidents this summer at Walt Disney World were both victims of irregular heartbeats linked to natural causes, the medical examiner's office said.

Daudi Bamuwamye, a 4-year-old who died in June after going on the rocketship ride "Mission: Space" at Epcot, had an abnormal thickening of his heart muscle caused by a condition present since birth, doctors said Tuesday.

Jerra Kirby, a 12-year-old girl from Newport News, Virginia, who suddenly collapsed at the Typhoon Lagoon water park in August, died from arrhythmia caused by an early-stage viral heart infection, officials also determined.

People who suffer from the young boy's condition are at risk of sudden death throughout their lives, the medical examiner's office said.

"This risk could be increased under physical or emotional stressful situations," Dr. Jan Garavaglia wrote. "This condition may also eventually lead to heart failure."

Disney officials released a statement Tuesday saying that "our sympathies are with the families during this difficult time. In regard to the reports, we believe they speak for themselves."

The $100 million Epcot space ride, one of Disney World's most popular, was closed after the boy's death but reopened after company engineers concluded it was operating normally.

It spins riders in a centrifuge that subjects them to twice the normal force of gravity. Some riders have been taken to the hospital complaining of chest pain.

One warning posted last year in front of the ride read: "For safety you should be in good health, and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness or other conditions that can be aggravated by this adventure."