Family waits for coroner’s results

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Chris Quint

Chris Quint’s family say they have no knowledge about any problems with prescription drug use he might have had.

By Olivia Damavandi / Special to The Malibu Times

The early morning death of 39-year-old Malibu resident Chris Quint in Las Flores Canyon Park on June 17 has not been corroborated as a drug or alcohol overdose, despite one of his friends saying Quint had been drinking and taking Xanax the previous night into early that Tuesday morning. The results of his autopsy will not be available for at least another week.

Quint’s close friend since childhood, John Shaw, said, although he couldn’t absolutely verify it, that Quint’s death was due to a “combination of heart issues, prescription medication and alcohol. It was an accident. He said he was going for a walk, felt he needed to sleep, right then and there, and never woke up.”

Gayle Quint, Chris’ mother, could not verify any of her son’s alleged drug and alcohol use. “I don’t know about that specific night [that he died], we’re still waiting for the coroner’s report,” she said. “So until I hear from them, I won’t be able to say anything about it because I don’t know.” Gayle Quint remembers her son Chris as a self-sacrificing man who put others before himself.

“In his lifetime, he first became very passionate about ecology and aqua culture. He went to Arizona State University and majored in ecology and was a scuba dive instructor at Pepperdine University,” she said. “The ocean was his first love but, unfortunately, at 28 years old, he had a heart attack from too many descents. At that time he was told he would no longer be able to scuba dive and that was a hard thing for him to accept because he wanted to start a school for handicapped kids so they could experience the freedom in the water that they couldn’t experience on land. But that dream couldn’t come to fruition.”

She also said Chris had contracted malaria three times while he was living in Africa working as a miner, and had three heart attacks in his 39-year lifespan.

“He was very concerned about two of his three brothers, especially since one of them had currently been diagnosed with Addison’s disease and had dropped a lot of weight, which really affected him,” she explained. “Chris was very compassionate. His brothers meant a lot to him and he would give a lot of energy to anyone he cared about. But every time Chris put energy into someone else, it would weaken him.”

Chris Quint’s younger brother, Jonathan Quint corroborated his mother’s account of their closeness: “You couldn’t find two brothers who were closer [than the two of us]. The Van Gogh brothers didn’t have anything on us.”

Of any possible drug use by his brother, Jonathan Quint said, “He wasn’t a saint, but he wasn’t a junkie. Did he like to have a beer here and there, sure.”

Mark Marcellino, who works at Malibu Country Liquor Store, had known Quint for three years and would speak with him quite frequently. “Chris would come over [to the store] many nights and talk about everyday things. He was in incredible shape, and didn’t look like someone who drank heavily or took drugs like Xanax,” Marcellino said. “He’d buy a pint of Jack Daniels and a pack of cigarettes after the workday, but he wasn’t a big spender. From my perspective, he was a really good guy with lots of character.”

Shaw said he was troubled by Quint’s death, and thought that maybe his “heart trouble, a broken engagement in the early ’90s, seeing a friend suffer from a head injury, living in Africa and seeing the despair” there might have contributed overall to any problems Quint might have suffered.

Chris Quint also spent time in Iraq, his mother said, but she could not say why. “It was classified [information] so he didn’t really talk about any of it,” she said.

“I don’t care what a coroner report tells me. I know why he died and it’s too complicated for words,” Jonathan Quint said. “It’s beyond the realm of science. In my heart, it’s just simply more complicated than that [an autopsy]. I don’t think a doctor could necessarily tell how big a toll that many cases of malaria and heart attacks takes on the body.

“In my opinion, Chris lived more in his lifetime than most men would live in fifty.”