Just weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, an East St. Louis man was found dead in the Mississippi River.
William Rucker, 80, had been discharged from the hospital Monday afternoon and never made it home, said his granddaughter, Emerald Glass. He was pronounced dead just before 9 p.m. Wednesday, after crews pulled his body out of the Mississippi River near Sauget.
Glass said she doesn’t know what happened but firmly believes her grandfather did not kill himself.
“It’s so hard because of how he was found,” Glass said. “I could have dealt with it better if he was at home, but to be found in the river floating ... I find myself breaking down.”
Rucker raised her and her sister, as well as many others in their family. Glass described him as a family man, a great person with a good heart who always studied the Bible.
“He’s all we had as a dad; he’s all we knew as a dad,” Glass said.
A formal cause of death has not been identified yet, St. Clair County coroner Calvin Dye Sr. said. It appears that he drowned, but officials won’t know for sure until the toxicology reports come back in a few weeks.
“He was a good man,” Glass said. “He’s going to be truly missed.”
Sauget police did not respond to a request for comment Friday.