Aschoff died on December 24 with a diagnosis of multifocal pneumonia and a rare disease known as hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).
Aschoff and others had expressed surprise at the severity of their illness, given their age and apparent good health.
His fiancee, Katy Berteau, revealed Wednesday that, although they didn’t know until his lung biopsy after his death, Aschoff had stage 4 not Hodgkin lymphoma in your lungs
“Both pneumonia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma can trigger HLH in the body and that is apparently what happened with Edward. All this combined is what led to his rapid decline in recent days and, ultimately, his death.” said Berteau.
Berteau said he shared the information to help the public understand and process his loss.
“He also wanted to provide this update because he would have wanted everyone to know that something bigger than pneumonia knocked him down,” he said.
His illness was getting worse
Aschoff went to the emergency room after a flight on December 1, so he said it was a virus that had “transformed into this monster.” He started antibiotics the next day.
December 4 and 5, tweeted about having pneumonia.
The antibiotics did not work and got worse, Berteau previously tweeted, and began many tests, including those that looked at his bone marrow and biopsies of his lungs.
Doctors began treating him for an alleged diagnosis of HLH. He died three days after being transferred to intensive care.
What is the HLH?
It can be inherited or acquired, said Johns Hopkins. About a quarter of cases are transmitted through families, and the rest comes from infections, a weakened immune system and cancer.
Symptoms may include cough, shortness of breath, fever, headaches, rashes, swollen lymph nodes, jaundice and digestive problems, according to Johns Hopkins.
What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
Berteau described Aschoff’s cancer as “a type of aggressive cancer that is generally undetectable until it is very advanced.”
The disease can be indolent, it spreads slowly with few signs and symptoms, or aggressive, it spreads quickly with severe symptoms, the institute said.
Signs and symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, weight loss, skin rash and pain in the chest, abdomen or bones, according to the institute.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess, Amir Vera and Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.