MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The U.S. Postal Service is apologizing after it erroneously declared a Chaska man dead.

Jason Gerling, who injured his spine some two decades ago, says his mom got a shock when her letter to him was returned with the word "deceased" on it. He says the post office mix-up caused confusion and emotional distress among family members.

Gerling's mom says she almost had a heart attack when she received the letter and immediately called her son to make sure he was still alive. She says it brought her back to the day she found out Jason had been in a terrible accident that left him wheelchair bound.

The Postal Service says the error may have resulted from a piece of Gerling's mail being mis-delivered.