Culture News

Medical Examiner Determines Tempe Improv Owner's Death Was From Natural Causes

Officials from the Buckeye Police Department and the Maricopa County Medical Examiner have released specific details regarding the cause of death of Tempe Improv owner Mark Anderson.

Per the autopsy report issued by the Medical Examiner yesterday via the Buckeye P.D., the 60-year-old's death was due to natural causes, specifically a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or massive bleeding in the brain.

The body of Anderson, who owned and operated the Improv comedy club for 23 years, was found lying on the floor of a Days Inn motel room in Buckeye by the housekeeping staff on June 6.

Dr. John Hu, a forensic pathologist with the Medical Examiners office, conducted the autopsy, and determined that the hemmorage was the result of a cerebral arteriovenous malformation (or AVM), a condition where the veins and blood vessels in the brain become abnormally tangled and susceptible to rupture.

Some of the symptoms of AVM include difficulties of communication and cognitive function, seizures, and such possible neurological issues as dementia, hallucinations, and confusion.

Anderson reportedly had a history of mental issues (such as psychotic episodes, bouts of depression and paranoia, and bipolar tendencies) which -- in light of the autopsy report's findings -- may ultimately been caused by his condition.

It was estimated by the Medical Examiners office that Anderson, who was reported missing by family members approximately three weeks before his death, had died one to three days before his body was found.

Days prior to going M.I.A., Anderson, who also owned the Improv location in Washington, D.C., had announced the closure of the Improv after more than two decades in operation due to increased competition from other Valley comedy clubs, including Stand Up Live.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.