The Department of Health and Human Resources says that heart disease remains the leading cause of death in West Virginia.

Although the agency says deaths due to heart disease dropped by 4 percent during 2006, nearly 15 percent of the state's 20,649 deaths were due to heart disease.

Cancer-related deaths ranked second at nearly 13 percent.

The third cause of death was chronic lower respiratory disorders, followed by strokes.

In 2006, the average age at death was nearly 69 years for men and 76 for women.

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