WHY JERRY DIED

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Jerry Garcia used heroin within days of his fatal heart attack, but drugs did not play a direct role in his death, according to a coroner's report released today. Instead, the Grateful Dead guitarists's his heart simply gave out. Garcia died Aug. 9 after checking into a drug rehabilitation clinic in Northern California. "He was a 53-year-old man with hardening of the arteries," Marin County coroner's investigator Gary Erickson said. "This was a mechanical process." (Two of three arteries leading from Garcia's heart had been reduced to "a pinpoint.") Heroin or no heroin, music critic Christopher John Farley says: "I'm surprised and kind of bothered that there wasn't more honest talk about the addictions that Garcia faced in his life."/P>