On April 8, 2003, at age 72, Dr. Atkins slipped on the ice while walking to work. In the fall, he hit his head and this caused bleeding around his brain. He lost consciousness on the way to the hospital, where he spent two weeks in intensive care.
His body deteriorated rapidly and he suffered massive organ failure.
During this time, his body apparently retained an enormous amount of fluid. His weight at death was recorded at 258 pounds (again, records say that he was 195 upon entering the hospital). His death certificate states that the cause of death was "blunt impact injury of head with epidural hematoma."