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Wes Leonard: enlarged heart killed HS athlete

FENNVILLE, Mich. - A Michigan high school's star basketball player who collapsed on the court after making a game-winning shot died of an enlarged heart, according to the medical examiner.

Dr. David A. Start, the Ottawa County medical examiner, says 16-year-old Wes Leonard suffered cardiac arrest because of the condition. An autopsy was conducted Friday.

Leonard, a star athlete at Fennville High, died Thursday night. Paramedics performed CPR on the 16-year-old before he was pronounced dead at the hospital, Holland Hospital spokeswoman Deb Patterson said.

Wes Leonard photos: Tragedy on the court

Leonard's family told CBS News that the teenager had no known previous heart condition. "This was a total shock," the family said. "He was 'like a man' and such an athletic boy, in seemingly perfect condition."

According to CBS News partner WebMD, dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart's ability to pump blood is decreased because the heart's main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, is enlarged and weakened.

CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton reports that the condition, which can be hereditary or acquired, could have followed a virus or the cause could be unknown.

Many at Fennville High told CBS affiliate WWMT that Leonard was in the best athletic shape of his life, though they say he may have recently had the flu.

Dr. Laura Martin of WebMD notes that usually people get significant shortness of breath and heart failure with dilated cardiomyopathy. She adds the condition is not always associated with a heart murmur and may not necessarily be picked up on health screen unless the patient is symptomatic.

On Thursday, Leonard, who earlier this season eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his high school career, laid the ball in with less than 30 seconds remaining. Watch video below:

Bridgman wasn't able to score during the ensuing trip down the court, giving Fennville a 20-0 season. Leonard fell to the ground after teammates and fans rushed the court.

Leonard is the second Fennville athlete to die in 14 months. Wrestler Nathaniel Hernandez, 14, died in January of last year after suffering a seizure at home following his participation in a high school wrestling match.

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