Coroner Releases Details About the Cause of Carrie Fisher's Death
The coroner’s report outlining the cause of Carrie Fisher’s death was released on Friday, almost six months after the actress passed away at 60.
Unfortunately, there’s not much closure, according to Time: Fisher’s cause of death is officially listed as “undetermined.” There are a few contributing factors, though: coroner’s officials say that the Star Wars actress’s death was caused partly by sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts throughout sleep, according to Mayo Clinic. It can be caused by issues with the throat muscles or with the brain’s ability to signal the muscles to control breathing. Fisher also suffered from a fatty tissue buildup in the walls of her arteries, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office reported. The statement showed that Fisher had taken drugs before her death, but it couldn’t be determined if they contributed to her death.
Fisher died four days after suffering a medical emergency while on board an international flight on December 23. Her mother and movie star Debbie Reynolds died the next day, and the mother and daughter were buried next to each other in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills.
After the report was released, Fisher’s daughter and Scream Queens actress, Billie Lourd, gave a statement to People: “My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases.”
Fisher revealed that she smoked marijuana at age 13, used LSD by 21, and was diagnosed as bipolar when she was 24, leading her to therapy where she was prescribed medication. She even wrote about her drug use in her autobiographical novel, Postcards From the Edge, and told People in 2013 that “the only lesson for me, or anybody, is that you have to get help. I’m not embarrassed.”
Fisher’s brother Todd told the Associated Press that he was not surprised by the coroner’s report and that the family did not want an investigation into his sister’s death. “We’re not enlightened. There’s nothing about this that is enlightening,” he said. “I would tell you, from my perspective, that there’s certainly no news that Carrie did drugs.”
Many of the drugs, he says, were prescribed to help with her mental disorders, and though they likely contributed to her health issues, they may have also helped keep her alive longer.
“If you want to know what killed her, it’s all of it,” he said.
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