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Officials say tourist died of natural causes


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At least seven Americans have died in 2019 in the Dominican Republic, with questions being raised about what is going on.
USA TODAY

The Attorney General’s Office of the Dominican Republic says the latest American tourist death in the country was due to natural causes.

In a Monday press release, the office noted the preliminary autopsy report showed 56-year-old businessman Vittorio Caruso died of respiratory failure due to acute heart failure.

Preliminary investigations also showed Caruso suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had a history of high blood pressure for more than nine years, according to the release. 

Caruso’s family told News 12 Long Island about their relative’s death on June 17. His sister-in-law Lisa Maria Caruso, said that his family got a phone call telling them he was sick, only to find out minutes later that he died. Vitttorio, a Long Island native, owned a pizza shop in Glen Cove, New York.

Caruso is the eighth confirmed American to have died this year in the Dominican Republic, and questions have been raised about whether travel is safe to the Caribbean vacation destination. But a Dominican Republic official spoke out at a press conference Friday to dispel concerns.

“The Dominican Republic is a safe country,” Francisco Javier Garcia, the minister of tourism in the Dominican Republic, told reporters.

Garcia said the confirmed deaths are not out of the ordinary and that the number is lower than in some previous years. Garcia said in both 2011 and 2015 through June, 15 tourists died in the Dominican Republic. 

Contributing: David Oliver

More: Hard Rock Hotel in Dominican Republic to remove liquor dispensers after tourist deaths

More: High school graduates fall ill during trip to Dominican Republic

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