Former AFL heavyweight Dean Wallis suffers heart attack, same age as Warne, Kimberley

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Former AFL heavyweight Dean Wallis has suffered a major heart attack and is recovering in hospital.

Wallis, who played in the Bombers’ 1993 and 2000 premierships, survived the health scare after he was reportedly rushed to hospital in Echuca, in Victoria’s north, for lifesaving surgery.

The 52-year-old is the same age as cricket legend Shane Warne and politician Kimberley Kitching who both died after suffering heart attacks over the past week.

He had been in northern Victoria for work when the heart attack occurred but is now in recovery.

Wallis just last month attended Essendon’s Hall of Fame function where he celebrated the elevation of Neale Daniher, the late Dr Bruce Reid, Dustin Fletcher and Gavin Wanganeen to Legend status.

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The incident follows the shock deaths of Shane Warne and Kimberley Kitching who both died suddenly from suspected heart attacks within a week of each other.

While Warne’s death has been linked to his smoking and unhealthy crash dieting, while Kitching’s colleagues said her death came amid immense stress from political backroom machinations.

Although less than 5 per cent of heart disease occurs in people younger than 55 in Australia, all were aged just 52 years old.

Executive director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Jason Kovacic said stress, extreme diets, smoking and even catching Covid were all risk factors in causing heart attacks.

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He slammed any commentary that suggested vaccination led to the heart attacks.

He said while vaccination had been linked to rare cases of myocarditis – an inflammation of the heart muscle – there were not any reports of it leading to heart attacks.

He said by the age of 75, one in four Australians would have heart disease and it was the leading cause of death – so it was important people monitored the common causes.