How did Mr. Pignati die at the end? What happened at the end other than his death?

Expert Answers

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Readers are not actually told the cause of death for Mr. Pignati. We aren't even given a decent description of his final moments in order to check for signs and symptoms of a cause of death. We know from the end of chapter 10 that Mr. Pignati had an earlier heart attack.

He started to double over—his eyes fastened on me—gaping like
a fish out of water. Then he pressed his right hand to his chest and
fell to the bottom of the stairs.

Chapter 11 confirms to readers that Mr. Pignati suffered a heart attack, but he survived this particular episode. Chapter 13 has John and Lorraine having the party at Mr. Pignati's house, and the chapter ends with Mr. Pignati coming home. That's when John passes out. Mr. Pignati does not have a heart attack or pass out at this moment like a previous answer shows. In chapter 14, Mr. Pignati, Lorraine, and John are back at the zoo. Near the end of the chapter, the three characters are at their favorite baboon exhibit, but Bobo is nowhere to be found. It turns out that Bobo died the week before. The news is devastating to Mr. Pignati. His hands begin to shake, and he lets out a "tiny cry." He then drops to ground, dead.

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Mr. Pignati’s first heart attack is caused by over-exerting himself while skating with John and Lorraine. John and Lorraine (the kids who have entered Mr. Pignati’s home under false pretences), call for help. They lie to the medical team and pretend to be Mr. Pignati’s children so that they can visit him in the hospital as he recuperates from his heart attack.

Mr. Pignati had been living a lonely existence and he is now thrilled to have John and Lorraine in his life. Therefore, he gives them permission to “make themselves at home” while he is in the hospital. They decide to throw a party, which quickly becomes out-of-hand.  In fact, Norton Kelly steals from the house and, when John confronts him about the theft, he breaks all of the pigs in Mr. Pignati’s home. These collectibles had been significant to Mrs. Pignati prior to her death. Consequently, when Mr. Pignati returns home from the hospital and sees the devastation that he kids have wreaked upon his home, he has a second, fatal heart attack.

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