The death certificate has not yet been released, but a family spokesman says cardiac arrest--not cancer--killed Anthony Hauser last week. On Thursday Hauser had a series of six heart attacks, and the last one evidently did him in.
"We can't say for sure, but it seems possible that he was exposed to something from his farm or a neighboring area," says Dan Zwakman, a family friend. "All of a sudden he woke up one morning and had a hard time breathing."
Hauser, a dairy farmer from Sleepy Eye, leaves behind a wife and nine children under the age of 18.[jump]
The Hauser family made news back in 2009, when Anthony's wife Colleen fled the state in order to avoid court-ordered chemotherapy for their 13-year-old son. Daniel Hauser was suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma. The boy, now 15, eventually returned to Minnesota and underwent treatment, and Zwakman says he is now in full remission.
Anthony Hauser told reporters last year that he was battling a rare and aggressive form of leukemia, and that he would forgo conventional treatment in favor of a dietary regimen. Zwakman explained that Anthony Hauser was treating his condition by eating a diet consisting primarily of pureed vegetables.
"He was doing well battling leukemia and holding it pretty much at bay," Zwakman says.
But last Wednesday, Anthony Hauser woke up and had trouble breathing. He was airlifted to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, in Mankato. He died in the hospital on Thursday.
Zwakman claims that the average lifespan after diagnosis with the kind of cancer Anthony Hauser had is six to eight weeks. Anthony Hauser lived two years after being diagnosed.
Zwakman said he did not know the exact name of the cancer.
Colleen and Daniel Hauser are part of a group that favors natural healing over conventional medicine. Anthony Hauser was not officially a member, Zwakman says, but nonetheless followed its stance on conventional treatments.
"He declined all of it and never took any of it," Zwakman says. "He did blood transfusions once in a while, and he was working on detoxifying the body, trying to rebuild the immune system through the diet."
Colleen Hauser could not be immediately reached by phone.
Here's a video of Anthony Hauser last year, explaining to reporters his cancer diagnosis: