‘9-1-1’ Crew Member Richard Priem’s Cause of Death Revealed

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The cause of death for Richard Priem, a crew member on 9-1-1, has been revealed. The 66-year-old died in May after working a late 14-hour shift on the procedural drama and was pronounced dead on the scene of a highway car accident. 

Though the accident was initially thought to be the result of drowsy driving, the autopsy now indicates that a heart attack was to blame. 

According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, Priem died of sudden cardiac dysfunction. Additionally, Priem suffered from cardiomegaly — or an enlarged heart — with left ventricle hypertrophy. The manner of his death is classified as natural. 

Priem, who also went by Rico, worked as a grip on 9-1-1 and was a member of the IATSE Local 80 crew union.

According to a report from TVLine last month, CHP officials said Priem’s Toyota Highlander “left the roadway for unknown reasons, went up an embankment and flipped onto its roof” at 4:27 a.m. PT on May 11.

Angela Bassett, who stars on the hit Fox show, offered her condolences to Priem’s family in an interview with ET shortly after his death. 

“The studio, 9-1-1, we all extend our deepest condolences to his friends to his family,” Bassett shared. “It was just a very, very sad moment. We’re all rocked by it, certainly.”

Angela Bassett attends the Disney Advertising Upfront showcase.Getty

9-1-1 is in its seventh season, and over the years the cast and crew have experienced many milestone moments in each of their personal lives — from births and weddings to, tragically, now a death in the family.

“It’s the first time [we experience death]. We have births, you know, we have weddings and now to experience this,” Bassett shared before adding that the cast and crew remembered Priem on the set. “We just had to take a moment, just take time and take a moment. We thought it was important to come together and have whatever bit of service and offer whatever we can do to his family, ’cause we know that we’ll miss him but we know they will miss him even more.”

Bassett added that when the cast and crew got together on the set to remember Priem, “so many beautiful words were spoken of him.”

After news broke of his death, a representative for 20th Television wrote in a statement to ET, “On behalf of the studio and everyone at 9-1-1, we send our sincere and deepest condolences to Rico Priem’s family and friends.”

Priem’s death was also addressed in a social media post by one of his colleagues, Nina Moskol, who said that they had just worked together a few nights prior. 

“He was on the cusp of retirement, with his paperwork filed,” the tribute stated. “He had his already rich life planned for retirement, including spending time with his wife, watching his grand-nephew grow, riding his beloved Harley, and even gripping still to stay connected to his friends. He was so jazzed about what he had learned about retiring, he wanted to teach the ins and outs of retirement at the local.” 

“We are fully committed to the safety and the well-being of all our members and express our heartfelt condolences to the member’s family,” IATSE said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter in May. “Workers have a reasonable expectation that they can get to work and come home safely. No one should be put in unsafe circumstances while trying to earn a living.”


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