Paxton Mills Died From Heart Disease, Autopsy Finds

Popular Denver DJ Found Dead In Aspen Monday

A popular Denver radio disc jockey found dead in Aspen died of heart disease, Pitkin County corroners said Wednesday.

Paxton Mills, 52, whose full name was Harry Paxton Mills, had severe heart disease and it apparently caused his death, according to Dr. Rob Kurtzman, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy.

Routine toxicology tests have been ordered, but Kurtzman said he doesn't expect that they will show a different cause of death.

Mills, who was co-host of the Paxton and the Coach morning show at KOOL 105 until resigning last Friday, was found dead Monday in his room at the Hotel Aspen. Hotel personnel had gone to his room when he failed to check out on time.

Mills was found dead in bed, a police source said. There were no obvious signs of trauma, according to that source.

Scott Cortelyou, 7NEWS Business Reporter, who was Mills' first partner at legendary Denver rock station KIMN, said that Mills' father "died fairly young of major coronary disease, and there was always some suspicion that it ran in the family."

Although there were reports that Mills was suffering from testicular cancer, Kurtzman said that he could find no sign of it.

"There wasn't a kinder soul or a more generous person," said Cortelyou, who worked with Mills at KIMN-FM from 1981 through 1988, then for three more years at the old KXLT-FM.

Mills had spent 20 years in Denver radio, the last two with KOOL 105. He also had worked at KIMN-AM, KMJI-FM and KOSI-FM.

"Paxton and the Coach" (pictured, left) was chosen as Denver's Best Morning Show last year by the Colorado Broadcasters Association.

Steve Keeney, general manager of KOOL, said Mills had resigned "of his own volition. He felt he needed to get away to attend to some personal matters."

Keeney hired Mills almost 20 years ago to the day to work at KIMN-AM. At the time KIMN was the number one station in the Denver radio market.

Mills' morning show co-host Rick "The Coach" Marshall paid tribute to his former partner as did other KOOL personalities.

"It was the toughest hour I ever had to do in my life," said Jay Mack, a radio host who had known Mills since 1969. "I was on the threshold of tears and I still am. I loved the guy like a brother."

KOOL 105 released a statement on Tuesday about Mills' death that said he would be missed.

"We at KXKL-KOOL 105 are terribly saddened by the sudden death of Paxton Mills. For the past 3 years Paxton has been a part of the KXKL-KOOL 105 morning team, "Paxton and The Coach." Paxton was an extraordinarily talented radio personality and will be missed by his many fans and friends. Our deepest sympathies go out to Paxton's family and friends," the statement said.

Mills was born in Dallas and graduated from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas. He worked at rock and roll powerhouse KLIF in Dallas with radio legends such as Charlie Van Dyke as well as stations in San Diego, Buffalo, Atlanta and Cleveland before settling in Denver.

He was divorced and has three children: Matthew of New York, Joshua of Dallas, and Samantha of Detroit. Mills resided in Evergreen., Colo.

A message left on his answering machine alluded to his trip to Aspen and invited his friends to call him at the Aspen Hotel. "It'd be nice to hear a friendly voice," the message said.

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