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4:30pm ET, 4/16


Traffic accident contributed to entertainer Steve Allen's death


LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- An autopsy report concluded Friday that entertainer Steve Allen's death in October was linked to a minor traffic accident, according to authorities.

"Mr. Allen died of a condition known as hemopericardium based on a preexisting clinical diagnosis of atherosclerosis," said Los Angeles County coroner spokesman Scott Carrier. "But his death is ruled accidental due to a vessel rupture sustained after a minor traffic collision."

Allen, 78, was en route to his son's San Fernando Valley home October 30 when a car backed into the side of Allen's vehicle, Carrier said. When Allen arrived at his son's home, family members said the entertainer was "not steady on his feet," and went to lie down.

Shortly thereafter, he was unresponsive and was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Carrier said.

"Our autopsy report shows Allen suffered a bruise on the left side of his chest following the accident and that vessels were ruptured," said Carrier. "The accident was so minor that Allen only exchanged phone numbers and insurance information with the other party," he said.

Carrier said Allen's physician listed the cause of death as a heart attack but did mention the traffic collision. Under California law, if a traffic accident is noted on the death certificate, the coroner's office is required to investigate.

Allen was the original host of the "Tonight Show." He was also an author, poet, playwright and one of the most prolific composers of modern times, with thousands of pop songs to his credit, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Allen was married to television, film and stage actress Jayne Meadows for nearly 50 years.

Comedian Steve Allen dead at 78
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