Mark Haines: Cause of Death – Case Closed

It is about time to lay to rest any wondering about the cause of CNBC “Squawk on the Street” anchor Mark Haines’ death.  I spoke to the Monmouth County medical examiner’s office this morning, which reports that he died of “natural causes,” namely “congestive heart failure due to cardiomegaly.”  The signing physician was apparently his personal physician, Dr. Eugeny Olenko of Forest Hills, N.J.

Lt. Reck of the Marlburo, N.J. police department told me the case was closed and they had “no doubt” about the cause of death.  The local police department took jurisdiction of the case from the county, I was told by the county prosecutor’s office yesterday.

The family requested a private autopsy, which is entirely appropriate in this case.  If the police and the medical examiner are both satisfied, we should be too.  The rest of the information will be kept private as it should be.  There is no reason for the family to comment further.

Cardiomegaly is not a disease, so the cause of death given is not a very accurate one in my opinion as a pathologist.  Although congestive heart failure could be sited as a cause, it may have not been the immediate cause of death, which could have been a ventricular arrhythmia (failure of the heart to maintain a normal rhythm).

Cardiomegaly means his heart was enlarged, which can occur for a variety of reasons.  Simply type the term into Wikipedia and you will get the long laundry list of actual causes of/associations with  heart enlargement from amlyloidosis to hyperthryroidism to heart defects to obesity.  We could guess that Mark’s smoking history and obesity could have contributed to this, but other factors could have come into play.  The rest is pure speculation.  The case is now closed.

What this report does is put to rest the notion that other than natural causes were involved in Mark’s death. 

As I said last week, rest in peace Mark.  Thank you for all your great work and the way in which you did it.

I brought this story to the attention of major networks, who NEVER followed through on tying up these loose ends in their stories on Mark’s passing (years later!).

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Many of you may know that Mark did actually use market timing, most famously when calling the March 2009 bottom in the SP500 Index, since sometimes called the “Haines Bottom” in his memory.   I was lucky to catch his comment live and happened to have agreed with him.  What do you think?  Would Mark make a market timing call today?  He did not make market timing calls that often, and I distinctly remember him mentioning that fact as he made the March 2009 call.  He liked calling bottoms more than tops.  My personal practice is to call tops and bottoms. 

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