BEAUFORT COUNTY -

Investigators have released the cause of death for a World War 2 pilot whose body was found after crews put out a brush fire in Beaufort County.

According to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, 88-year-old Richard Balzer was conducting a controlled burn on his property along Dan Taylor Road, near Market Place Extension northeast of Washington, Wednesday evening. But he died of medical complications before the fire got out out control, based on results from a preliminary autopsy report.

A close friend of Balzer's said the victim may have had a heart attack.

Firefighters got a call about the brush fire just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, said Major Kenneth Watson of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office. When crews extinguished the blaze, they found Balzer's burnt body.

Balzer's wife was the one who called the fire department, because she couldn't find her husband but knew he was attempting a controlled burn, Major Watson said.

No foul play was suspected in Balzer's death, investigators said.

According to family, Balzer was a pilot in World War 2.