The family of a B.C. actor killed in a motorcycle crash in Port Moody last week believes a life-long heart condition was behind his death.
Gabe Khouth, 46, known for his role as Sneezy in ABC’s Once Upon A Time, was involved in a single-vehicle crash on his bike last Tuesday.
According to Port Moody Police, first responders were called to the collision around 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of St. Johns and Queens streets.
On Monday, Khouth’s brother Sam Vincent told Global News his brother had been diagnosed at birth with a heart defect and was essentially missing a heart valve.
Khouth had a shunt put in as an infant, and travelled to the Mayo Clinic when he was about 10 for surgery to have the shunt replaced, said Vincent.
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“He’s kind of been beating the odds all the time. He’s had children who he met at the hospital, similar conditions, similar operations, that didn’t survive past the age of 19, 20,” said Vincent.
“He had one friend in particular who didn’t survive. And that really shook my brother.
Vincent said his brother was a regular patient at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, and had to go on blood thinners in his 20s when he developed arrhythmia.
“Even then, he got married, had a wife and a wife and two kids. And the greatest challenge for him was to know that he may not live to see them get old, and he always said that.“
An official coroner’s report into Khouth’s death is not expected for several months.
But Vincent said he was able to view security video through the Port Moody Police that appears to confirm his suspicions.
He said in the video, Khouth’s bike appeared to slow down, before drifting rightward toward the curb. The tire then struck the curb, and Khouth was ejected into a lamp post, he said.
“There was nothing erratic or strange about it,” he said, adding that witness accounts also appear to line up with a heart attack diagnosis.
The Port Moody Police Department said it could not comment on the cause of death in the crash until the coroner’s report was complete.
Both Khouth and Vincent grew up in Vancouver and attended Gladstone high school.
The pair both got into acting in the late 1980s just as the B.C. film industry was blowing up.
According to his IMDB page, Khouth was 46 years old and was born in North Vancouver. Along with 43 episodes of the ABC fantasy series, he also featured in episodes of iZombie and Supernatural and movies like Tim Burton’s Big Eyes.
Vincent described his brother as passionate and even obsessed with motorcycles, and said while he was physically small he used his over-sized personality to win people over.
“He always had a personality that was really affable and he was one of these people that he could instantly charm you and get to know you and he’d have you laughing with him the first two minutes that you met him, Vincent said.
He added that he was particularly thankful to the people who came to Khouth’s aid the day of his death.
“I heard about one gentleman who was holding his hand. Other people were trying to resuscitate him. Other people were praying for him,” Vincent said.
“That means a lot to my mother and myself and his children because I had to go in and talk to his kids about it, and it was just good to be able to tell them that their father passed away surrounded by people caring about him, which I think is a nice image to be left with.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help support Khouth’s widow and two children.
-With files from Sean Boynton