An Eatonton father died 52 days after his daughter was killed in a roadside bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan.
Lars Alecksen, 51, who laid to rest 21-year-old Army Spc. Erica Alecksen on July 18, suffered chest pains and shortness of breath Tuesday night at his home on Central Road, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said.
Alecksen’s 16-year-old son, Charles, performed CPR to try to save his father, but he could not, said Lydia Ivanditti, the sister of Alecksen’s widow, Doria.
There were no signs of life when rescuers arrived shortly after 8 p.m., Sills said.
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Ivanditti said her brother-in-law had been reclusive since his daughter’s funeral and took her death very hard.
“There’s no question that played a role,” Ivanditti said. “A light in his world went out.”
Her father felt responsible for the Army specialist’s death, she said.
“He felt he pushed her to go into the military and if he hadn’t, she would still be alive,” Ivanditti said.
The day of his daughter’s memorial last month, Lars Alecksen said he had been blessed by an outpouring of support in the wake of the insurgent attack that killed six soldiers July 8 in the Wardak province of Afghanistan.
“People from across the country that I’ve never heard of have contacted me. It’s been a good cushion from reality,” he said before his daughter’s service.
Alecksen’s body has been sent to the GBI crime lab for a postmortem examination by the state medical examiner.
“According to his family, he had no health problems,” Sills said. “The symptoms would lead you to believe he had a heart attack.”
The family is planning a funeral for later this week with Bernard’s Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
“I can’t tell you how in shock we are,” Ivanditti said. “We’re just stunned.”
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.