Genetic heart issue killed former Miss North Dakota found dead in MN


Samantha Edwards, the former Miss North Dakota whose body was found in a Minneapolis home two months ago, died of a heart issue.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Thursday the 37-year-old died of natural causes – specifically "arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy," a disease that causes part of the heart's wall muscles to break down over time.

That degeneration can increase the chances of an abnormal heartbeat (referred to as arrhythmia), and sudden death, the U.S. National Library of Medicine's Genetics Home Reference explains.

It's a genetic disease, and gets progressively worse, the British Heart Foundation says. People usually aren't diagnosed until later in life, because the disease can take a long time to begin causing damage to the heart. It is also a rarer form of cardiomyopathy, the Mayo Clinic says.

'She was awesome like that'

Edwards was found the morning of June 15 in a home on the 3700 block of Upton Avenue in Minneapolis. Those who knew her, including the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants, quickly reacted ot the sad news.

A Fargo native, Edwards secured the Miss North Dakota title in 2003. She studied at the University of North Dakota, as well as the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, according to her social media profiles.

A GoFundMe page launched to cover funeral expenses (and other unexpected costs) was started by her friend, Jessica Dereschuk, who was Miss Minnesota 2004. It has brought in more than $20,000.

The page says “Sami,” as she was known, was “one of the most vibrant, crazy, compassionate, loyal balls of energy you could ever come across in life. A conversation with her could either leave you full of adrenaline or utterly exhausted. She was a spitfire and with Sami you never knew what she’d throw your way – but you ALWAYS knew she would be there for you. She was awesome like that.”

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