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U of M associate professor dies after suffering cardiac arrest in pool

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An associate professor at the University of Minnesota, who was pulled unconscious from a St. Louis Park pool on Memorial Day, has died.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner says Koushik Seetharaman, 48, died Tuesday afternoon at Hennepin County Medical Center. Seetharaman worked as an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. A college spokesperson says he had started his job there in the fall of 2013.

Seetharaman was swimming at a private residence in the 2700 block of Ottawa Avenue on May 26, when someone noticed he wasn't breathing. He was pulled from the pool and CPR was performed, and then he was transported to HCMC.

A number of tests led doctors to believe Seetharaman had suffered sudden cardiac arrest while in the pool, a CaringBridge post says.

A week later, after "no sign" he was able to fully recover, his wife, Deb, "decided to let Koushik be Koushik and let him go where he needs to go," another CaringBridge update said.

"Although no longer here in person, Koushik will forever be present in this world through his professional achievements, but more importantly because of his infinite love and passion for the people who were around him - most of all of course his amazing wife Deb and his awesome son Samuel," a post on the day of his death said.

In an email sent out to the college the next day, department head Gary Reineccius called his death "a great loss to all of us in terms of losing a wonderful personality and talented, committed faculty member."

Seetharaman also served as General Mills Chair in Cereal Chemistry and Technology. Behroze Mistry of General Mills said they were "truly saddened" by the news.

"He was a remarkable individual; dynamic, with an infectious energy," Mitry continued. "He was also a great scientist with an inquisitive mind and thirst for knowledge. I count myself fortunate that I had the privilege to work with him ... He will be sorely missed by the scientific community."

He previously worked at the University of Guelph as a cereal researcher.

The medical examiner listed his cause of death as "anoxic encephalopathy due to resuscitated drowning" – brain damage due to lack of oxygen, as MedicineNet puts it, caused in this case by the near-drowning.

A "grand celebration" of Seetharaman's life is set for Friday night.

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