DALLAS, March 4, 2019 — The American Heart Association and its division, the American Stroke Association, join the chorus of organizations and individuals sending heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and fans of actor Luke Perry. Media reports indicate that Perry, age 52, died today following what has been described as a “massive stroke” on Thursday.

A stroke can happen to anyone at any age, however, the risk does go up with age. 

"Athough stroke often affects older individuals, it is not only a disease of the elderly. Luke Perry's tragic death highlights the fact that stroke can affect middle aged and young adults, even children. In fact, there is evidence that stroke rates among young people are increasing in the United States and this requires additional research," said Mitchell S.V. Elkind M.D., M.S., chair of the American Stroke Association Advisory Committee and a professor of Neurology and Epidemiology at Columbia University and attending neurologist at Columbia University Medical Center of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "While we don't know the cause of Perry's stroke, it's important for people to know the risk factors for stroke."  

Those include smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other cardiovascular diseases such as atrial fibrillation, or AFib (a heart rhythm disorder) and family history.

Stroke is the No. 2 cause of death worldwide and a leading cause of disability. Many people may not know that often strokes are treatable. The faster you are treated, the more likely you are to recover. 

The acronym F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember how to recognize a stroke and what to do. Spot a stroke FAST.

  • Face drooping.
  • Arm weakness.
  • Speech Difficulty.
  • Time to call 9-1-1.

Stroke can be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain (called an ischemic stroke) or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain (called a hemorrhagic stroke). Treatment options depend on the type of stroke.  It has not been reported what type of stroke Perry experienced.

To learn more about lowering your risk for stroke, visit www.strokeassociation.org.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

About the American Stroke Association

Stroke is the No. 2 cause of death worldwide and a leading cause of disability. The American Stroke Association is a relentless force for a world with fewer strokes. We team with millions of volunteers to create world of longer, healthier lives by funding innovative research, fighting for stronger public health policies, and providing lifesaving tools and information to prevent, treat and beat stroke. The Dallas-based association was created in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit strokeassociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries and AHA/ASA Expert Perspective: 214-706-1173