A state prison inmate who was found dead in his cell on Friday died of natural causes, according to an autopsy conducted Monday by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

Mark Belserene, a spokesman for the Medical Examiner’s Office, said Phillip Kay, 32, died as a result of blood clots in both lungs.

Guards at the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport found Kay on Friday afternoon. He apparently died while lying in his bed at the minimum security prison.

Kay was due to be released early next year after serving time for aggravated elevated assault. He was sentenced to 12 years, with part of the sentence to be served behind bars and the rest under supervised release. The Machiasport facility is for prisoners who have only three years or less left on their sentences and a record that makes them model inmates, according to the Department of Corrections.

“I don’t know his health history, but it’s clearly a natural death,” Belserene said of Kay.

Belserene said the official cause of Kay’s death was bilateral pulmonary thromboembolism – an obstruction of a lung artery due to a blood clot that dislodged in another part of his body. A secondary cause of death was deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot in the veins of the legs or pelvis.

Belserene said the medical conditions that caused Kay’s death are not uncommon in people who are inactive or sit for long periods.

Maine Department of Corrections spokesman Scott Fish could not comment on the specifics of Kay’s medical condition, but he said inmates throughout the state prison system have access to a variety of recreational activities.

Inmates housed at the Downeast Correctional Facility – a former military base – have access to a weight room and basketball court. There are also places for them to run or walk or play baseball.

Exercise is not mandatory, and it is left entirely up to inmates as to the types of physical activity they participate in, Fish said.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@pressherald.com