Watch CBSN Live

Harold Dow Cause of Death: Adult-Onset Asthma Killed CBS Newsman, Family Says

Harold Dow. (CBS) CBS

(CBS) Harold Dow, a veteran correspondent for CBS "48 Hours," died suddenly on Saturday behind the wheel of his car.

He was 62.

A family spokesperson issued this statement on the cause of death:

"At the time of Harold's death, he was suffering from adult onset asthma.

On Monday, August 16, 2010, Harold checked himself into the Valley Hospital emergency room in Ridgewood, N.J., for severe asthmatic symptoms.

According to the Hackensack Police Department incident report, an inhaler was found on the floor of Harold's vehicle. Therefore, it is believed at this time that Harold succumbed to an asthma attack while behind the wheel."

Asthma takes the lives of 11 Americans every day, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. That means more than 4,000 deaths due to asthma each year, many of which are avoidable with proper treatment and care.

When asthma symptoms like wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest, shortness of breath, and frequent coughing - especially at night - appear in adults older than 20, physicians call it adult-onset asthma.

According to WebMD, among those who may be more likely to get adult-onset asthma are:

  • Women who are having hormonal changes, such as those who are pregnant or who are experiencing menopause
  • Women who take estrogen following menopause for 10 years or longer
  • People who have just had certain viruses or illnesses, such as a cold or flu
  • People with allergies, especially to cats
  • People who are exposed to environmental irritants, such as tobacco smoke, mold, dust, feather beds, or perfume.

Asthma attacks can be frightening for the person experiencing it. Properly using asthma medications, as prescribed by your doctor, is key, in addition to avoiding known triggers.

Dow's career at CBS spanned 40 years. In addition to his stint at "48 Hours," he reported for the "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" as well as for "CBS News Sunday Morning."

Read more about Dow's life and career.