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SAN DIEGO -- A former San Diego veterinarian who once performed cataract surgery on a rescued sea lion pup has been found dead in a burning car in Arizona.

His ex-wife told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Anthony Basher was in a borrowed Mercedes that caught fire last Friday north of Tucson. Kim Basher said the fire was accidental.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department said the official cause of Basher's death is pending.

His ex-wife said the 54-year-old vet was fired from a San Diego animal hospital several months ago but was working at other California clinics.

She said he also worked two days a week in Tucson, staying at a colleague's home north of town.

Basher was a specialist in ophthalmology and helped animals at SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.

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Information from: U-T San Diego, http://www.utsandiego.com

Associated Press,

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