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Shock, Sadness Follow Sudden Death Of Popular Closter Native

Kristine Zutell
Kristine Zutell Photo Credit: COURTESY: Zutell Family

CLOSTER, N.J. -- She loved guitars and muscle cars and dedicated herself to helping others, and when news spread that Closter native Kristine Zutell died suddenly at her Dumont home, many were heartbroken and stunned.

They included Stephen Gibb, the son of Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees.

"I am so deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my friend Kristine Zutell," he wrote on Facebook. "She was such a passionate fan of the music she loved and one of my biggest supporters. Such a generous person."

Zutell, 43, who previously had heart problems, worked for the Bergen County Sheriff's Office before retiring with back and shoulder injuries.

She underwent back surgery seven weeks ago and began taking new medication on Friday, said her brother-in-law, Sean Murphy.

That night she went out and, according to friends, had "maybe two beers," he told Daily Voice.

After texts and calls weren't returned, her twin sister, Kathleen Zutell Murphy, and Zutell's boyfriend went to the apartment Monday night and found her.

"The Medical Examiner found nothing wrong" during a preliminary review, Sean Murphy said. "There was no trauma to her body, no sign of aneurysm."

A check of Zutell's remaining medications proved consistent with prescribed use and not overuse, he added.

"It may have been a reaction to the new meds, we don't know," he said. "Toxicology results won't be available for awhile. It may just be an unfortunate accident."

Zutell had been a volunteer with the Closter and Demarest volunteer ambulance squads.

She was also a big music fan and followed Gibb's band, Kingdom of Sorrow.

"My deepest condolences are with her family and friends at this difficult time," Gibb wrote. "She will be in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep her in yours."

Visiting hours are from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. tomorrow and Friday at the Moritz Funeral Home, 348 Closter Dock Road in Closter.

A 10 a.m. funeral Mass will be held at the Church of St. Mary, 20 Legion Place in Closter, followed by burial in George Washington Memorial Park Cemetery in Paramus.

Donations can be made in lieu of flowers to Parents Of Autistic Children (POAC Autism Services, 1989 Rte. 88, Brick, NJ 08724).

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