Steve Allen's Death Under Investigation

A California coroner is investigating the Oct. 30 death of comic-musician Steve Allen to see whether a minor car crash he suffered the same day had any connection to his passing.

Allen, who was the first host of NBC’s Tonight Show, was initially thought to have died of a heart attack. According to The Associated Press, new reports state that 78-year-old Allen was driving to his son’s home in Encino, Calif., when his Lexus was hit by a sport utility vehicle that was backing out of a driveway.

“It was a very minor traffic accident,” coroner’s spokesman Scott Carrier stated Monday. “If a traffic accident is noted on the death certificate, we are required by California law to investigate it.”

Allen collapsed at his son’s home, where he was visiting with his grandchildren. He later died at a local hospital. The comedian had been under a physician’s care, the AP noted.

Once called television’s “man for all seasons,” Allen was celebrated for his quick wit, his distinctive voice, and his songwriting skills. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific composer of modern times.