By CBS3 Staff


AVENEL, N.J. (CBS) — A New Jersey man is the eighth American to die while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Fifty-five-year-old Joseph Allen was found dead in his hotel room less than a week ago.

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Allen’s family said he had no significant health problems when he traveled to the Dominican Republic.

(credit: CBS3)

They say Allen was staying at Terra Linda Resort in Sosua last week with friends, who say he was complaining about being hot at the pool. He went to take a shower and lie down for the night, and was found dead the next day.

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At least seven other Americans have died in the Dominican Republic in the last 12 months. Local autopsies concluded most died of respiratory problems or a heart attack.

“Some seemingly healthy people seem to be having heart attacks out of the blue,” Mark Hurlbut Jr. said, whose father died from heart and respiratory problems last June in Punta Cana.

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“Had I known then what I know now, I would have fought tooth and nail to have his remains brought back here and have an American autopsy done,” he said.

Allen’s family is trying to get his body home.

Tourist groups are also reporting concerns. Five members of an Oklahoma high school group at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino became violently ill after eating at a Japanese restaurant, and more than 50 Jimmy Buffett fans were sickened while on an annual trip in April. At least one tested positive for salmonella last week.

We are still waiting on FBI toxicology reports for three deaths that occurred in May, including one for an Allentown woman. The U.S. Embassy says there is no proof at this point they’re linked.

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Health experts say heart attacks are a common cause of death for Americans who die on vacation.