'Wipeout' Contestant Tom Sparks Dies
'Wipeout' Contestant Tom Sparks Dies
Kris De Leon
Kris De Leon
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Tom Sparks, a former TV host from California, died on November 5--- two weeks after competing briefly on the ABC game show Wipeout. According to his father Bill Sparks, Tom had a stroke allegedly caused by antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), a rare condition associated with recurrent clotting events including premature stroke and heart attack. He was 33.

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While doctors determined that Tom Sparks probably died because of the stroke, the Los Angeles County coroner's office is still examining all possibilities. An autopsy was conducted on November 8, but test results are still pending.

"There's nothing we can confirm until we look at everything," the coroner's office told CNN. "We don't want to jump to any conclusions yet."

According to Endemol, the company that produces Wipeout for ABC, Sparks started to complain of knee pain while running through the first part of an obstacle course challenge during taping on October 19. On-set medics examined Sparks and noticed he was short of breath so they took him to a local hospital. Sparks was then moved to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he underwent several brain surgeries and eventually expired.

Prior to joining Wipeout, a show where contestants compete in what is billed as the "world's largest obstacle course," Sparks underwent a full physical screening as part of the show's policy for all participants. However, Sparks didn't list his pre-existing condition. Thus, his APS disease could not have been detected.  

"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family," ABC and Endemol said in a joint statement. "This is a tragic loss and our thoughts are with them at this time."

-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of ABC)

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