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Former Trail Blazers Physician Robert Cook Drowns

Lizzy Acker of the Oregonian reports that the doctor drown on the Oregon Coast.

Lizzy Acker of The Oregonian reported this morning that former Portland Trail Blazers team physician Robert Cook has passed away, drowning in a freshwater lake on the Oregon Coast.

Acker cites a Eugene Register-Guard report of a drowning of a 78-year-old man in Siltcoos Lake, south of Florence on Friday, She couples that with a Facebook post by local media figure Lars Larson, a long-time friend of Cook, recounting his conversation with track star Alberto Salazar:

"When my cell rang today and the screen read 'Doc Cook' I figured Bob wanted to talk about our deer hunt just over a month away," continued Larson. "But the voice on the phone said, 'Hey Lars, it's Alberto Salazar.'"

"And then he told me my great friend, Dr. Robert Cook, orthopedic surgeon for over half a century since graduating the University of Missouri Medical school in '63, had passed away," wrote Larson. "Doc was with friends when it happened in Florence, Oregon. He decided to go for a swim. They saw him dive into the lake and begin to stroke back toward the dock when he went under again and never came back up. Alberto told me it appears a heart attack took our friend."

Cook served as the Trail Blazers team physician from 1975-1980 and again in 1990-1991. He was part of the medical staff sued by center Bill Walton over treatment for foot injuries, a saga recounted in Walton's recent autobiography and ridiculed by Cook himself. He was 78 at the time of his passing.