Cause of death released for the parents of Hallmark star Alicia Witt
Two months after the bodies of Robert and Dianne Witt were discovered in their Massachusetts home by police, a local coroner has declared their death the result of “probable cardiac dysrhythmia” due to the cold. The death certificates for Robert Witt, 87, and Diane Witt, 75, were obtained by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Cardiac dysrhythmia (also called arrhythmia) is an abnormal rhythm of the heartbeat. It can be fatal if left untreated, according to American Heart Association.
The Witts had been living in a home without a working furnace, according to neighbors. Police found space heaters in the house but did not find a build-up of toxic gases. The temperature had dropped to 15 degrees the night before the couple was found.
Witt has not commented on their cause of death. In January, she posted a message on social media in an effort to dispel some of the rumors that had been circulating about her parents.
“My parents were not penniless,” she wrote. “They were fiercely stubborn, beautifully original souls, and with that, they made choices — choices that I couldn’t talk them out of. I did help them, in all the ways I could — in all the ways they would let me.”
According to documents obtained by the Telegram & Gazette, an ice storm in 2008 caused extensive damage to the roof of the Witts’ home. As of 2021, they were still working with their insurance company to get the roof repaired.
More than a decade
In her January post, Witt — who lives in Nashville — said she had not been inside her parents’ home for more than a decade.
“I begged, cried, tried to reason with them, tried to convince them to let me help them move — but every time, they became furious with me, telling me I had no right to tell them how to live their lives and that they had it all under control,” she wrote. “It was not for a lack of trying on my part, or the part of other people who loved them.”
According to neighbors, the Witts had stayed inside their home throughout the COVID pandemic. Neighbors also told the local newspaper that Robert, 87, and Diane, 75, were incredibly proud of their son, Ian, and their daughter, Alicia.
A classically trained pianist, Alicia Witt made her onscreen debut in the 1984 movie Dune. She went on to star in the CBS series Cybill, and had parts on The Sopranos, Friday Night Lights, and The Walking Dead. She has made several movies for the Hallmark Channel, including A Very Merry Mix-Up (2013), Christmas at Cartwright’s (2014), and Christmas Tree Lane (2020).
In a statement released in December, Witt said she had asked a relative to check on her parents when she couldn’t get in touch with them.
“Sadly, the outcome was unimaginable,” she wrote.