A Los Angeles County coroner’s report released on Monday revealed a mixture of drugs that were in actress Carrie Fisher’s system when she went into cardiac arrest on an L.A.-bound flight and later died.
Fisher’s toxicology review found evidence of cocaine, methadone, MDMA (better known as ecstasy), alcohol and opiates when she was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Hospital on Dec. 23, a toxicology report showed.
The test results “suggests there was an exposure to heroin, but that the dose and time of exposure cannot be pinpointed.” Therefore we cannot establish the significance of heroin regarding the cause of death in this case.”
The tests revealed that the cocaine would have been consumed within the previous 72 hours, according to the autopsy.
Four days later on Dec. 27, Fisher went into cardiac arrest. After 90 minutes of attempting to revive her, officials declared the “Star Wars” actress dead just before 9 a.m.
Her cause of death was listed as sleep apnea with other factors.
In addition to the listed cause of death, the coroner’s statement cited “other conditions: atherosclerotic heart disease, drug use.”
It also said: “How Injury Occurred: Multiple drug intake, significance not ascertained.”
Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, issued a statement to People magazine Friday night linking her mother’s death to drug use.
“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,” Lourd told People.
Fisher’s brother, Todd Fisher, responded to the official cause of death on Friday.
His sister’s battle with drugs and bipolar disorder “slowly but surely put her health in jeopardy over many, many years,” he said. “I honestly hoped we would grow old together, but after her death, nobody was shocked.”
Drug use can exacerbate sleep apnea with potentially fatal results, but the report does not make clear whether Fisher took any drugs on the day in December when she suffered a cardiac incident on the international flight.
Her assistant told authorities that Fisher slept most of the flight and had a few apneic episodes during the journey, which was usual, the coroner’s report said. Toward the end of the flight, Fisher could not be stirred awake, the report states. A few minutes later, she began vomiting profusely and slumped over, the report stated.
Before arrival, a pilot told the control tower that nurses onboard were attending to an “unresponsive” passenger.
“They’re working on her right now,” the pilot said in a public recording of the conversation on liveatc.net.
She made her film debut in 1975, starring in the comedy “Shampoo” with Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. But she etched herself permanently into the consciousness of the movie-going public as Princess Leia in the 1977 sci-fi classic “Star Wars.”
While she never quite escaped that role, which made her a sex symbol to a generation of geeky adolescents, she gained a degree of literary respect a decade later with the publication of “Postcards From the Edge,” a novel about an actress battling drug addiction.
A series of nonfiction books, including “Wishful Drinking” and “The Princess Diarist,” cemented her reputation as a serious author.
In her books and at public speaking events, Fisher was open about her struggles in the movie business and her prickly relationship with her mother. She was also outspoken about her mental health issues and the drastic solution she found: electric shock therapy.
Reynolds had a stroke after her daughter’s death and died Dec. 28.
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