The people on John Watzlawick’s mail route had gotten to know him well.

The people on John Watzlawick’s mail route had gotten to know him well.

The last house he delivered the mail to on Tuesday was Ty and Anita Hampshire’s house on Cottage Street in Independence, “which is really horribly sad,” Anita Hampshire said Wednesday.

Watzlawick, a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service, had delivered the mail on that route in southwest Independence – an area near Luff Elementary School – for 12 years, Hampshire said.

Tuesday afternoon, about 2:50 p.m., he dropped off the Hampshires’ mail and started to cross the street. He fell, bloodying his head and losing consciousness, she said.

A neighbor across the street saw him fall and called for help.

“And the sad thing is he must have dropped his cell phone and it was about three and a half feet away from him, and he was reaching out for it,” Hampshire said.

Emergency personnel arrived. Watzlawick, 57, a resident of Blue Springs, was taken to a hospital but died.

“He was our mailman for 12 years. ... All the neighbors knew him,” Hampshire said.

The Postal Service said Wednesday the cause of death is unknown and is under investigation by the Jackson County medical examiner’s office. It was well above 100 across the metro at the time Watzlawick fell.

Kay Watzlawick, his wife, told Examiner news partner KMBC that his body temperature was measured at higher than 108 degrees. The area has been under an excessive heat advisory for several days, and the temperature reached 104 at the downtown airport on Tuesday.