The medical examiner said Johnny Cash died of complications related to diabetes. And while strictly speaking that may be the case, many fans believe it was broken heart syndrome that actually caused his death. After all, the iconic musician died less than four months after his wife -- and soul mate -- June Carter passed away in 2003. Broken heart syndrome, also called stress cardiomyopathy, can aggravate a person's existing health problems. This happens because the syndrome puts stress on the heart, which eventually affects the health of the whole body. This stress often feels like a mild, continuous heart attack and can cause heavy pains in the chest that last a few days-or in some cases a few months. The feeling of a heavy heart is caused by the body's overproduction of various chemicals and hormones, including the stress hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline. When these hormones flood the heart muscles, they can become temporarily enlarged. This can make the heart unable to pump correctly. In addition, the stress hormones may cause the arteries to narrow, causing restricted blood flow. Adrenaline can also bind to the heart tissue, causing calcium to enter the cells, which stiffens the heart muscle. Broken Heart Syndrome typically occurs after a stressful event, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, break up, or even moments of sudden fear, extreme anger, and surprise. In one study published in the journal of Circulation, researchers looked at almost 2,000 people hospitalized for a heart attack and found that in the week after a loved one dies the risk of heart attack skyrockets 21 percent. But it can also occur after experiencing stroke, seizure, difficulty breathing or significant bleeding. Since the symptoms of broken heart syndrome are sometimes similar to a heart attack - sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart beat - it can be mistaken for one. However, heart attacks are typically caused by blockages in the arteries, whereas with broken heart syndrome there are no actual blockages, just reduced blood flow due to the stress. It is often diagnosed with use of an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (ECG), a blood test and an overall physical. A broken heart may have hastened Johnny Cash's death, but research shows that more than 90 percent of cases reported have been in women, particularly those older than 60. Still, the syndrome CAN occur in younger women and men; after all, they too can have their hearts broken. Luckily, broken heart syndrome does not always lead to a heart attack or worse. In fact it has been known to clear up anywhere from a few days to within a few months. But when you're hit with a situation like Cash's, and you lose the 'rose of your heart,' it may not have a reason to beat.