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Actor Lee Marvin died from heart attack

What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?

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Raised in New York, Marvin’s mischievous spirit came out to play when he ran away from home at the age of four. While the youngster was found two days later, looking back on the memory, Marvin quipped: “I wasn’t having any too much discipline, even then.” Sent to a succession of boarding schools, Marvin kept getting expelled from them, one after the other.

When he was old enough, Marvin joined the Marines. “I wanted to prove how tough I was,” he said.

According to the New York Times, Marvin made 21 landings on Pacific islands as a scout sniper.

Then a Japanese bullet severed a nerve just below his spine, leading him to be hospitalised and in rehabilitation for 13 months.

Once recovered, Marvin drifted through jobs, but it was when he worked as a plumber’s apprentice that luck played its part.

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Doing the plumbing work at a local playhouse, he took a shine to acting, which set his path into Hollywood.

Playing the part of a psychopathic multiple murderer in Dragnet, Marvin went on to be typecast in “bad guy” roles.

His best known films are: Cat Ballou (1965), The Professionals (1966), The Dirty Dozen (1967), and Paint Your Wagon (1969).

He continued to work until his death, on August 29, 1987, at the age of 63.

In Tucson Medical Center in Arizona, where Marvin was being treated for “a run-down condition related to the flu”, he died of a heart attack.

Heart attack

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) describes a heart attack as a “medical emergency” that requires a prompt call to 999 for an ambulance.

“It happens when there’s a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of the heart muscle,” the BHF says.

“Without enough blood and oxygen your heart can be seriously damaged.”

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Heart attack symptoms:

  • Pain or discomfort in your chest that happens suddenly and doesn’t go away
  • Pain that spreads to your left or right arm, or to your neck, jaw, back or stomach
  • Feeling sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.

For some people, the pain or tightness is severe, while for others it’s uncomfortable.

It may feel like heaviness, or a burning pain similar to indigestion, the BHF adds.

What leads to a heart attack?

Most heart attacks can be attributed to coronary heart disease, whereby the arteries supplying blood to the muscle are narrow and clogged up with fatty material.

When the fatty material embeds along the artery wall, if it breaks off causing injury, a blood clot will form.

A blood clot, however, can block the passageway of blood to the heart muscle, causing heart cells to die.

The longer the heart is starved of oxygen, the more damaged the heart becomes.

Lee Marvin starred in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; watch on Monday, February 6 on Film4 at 1.05pm.

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