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Carrie Fisher autopsy reveals she had cocaine, ecstasy and heroin in her system when she died

Beloved Star Wars actress passed away last year after suffering a heart attack on a plane travelling from London to Los Angeles

Clark Mindock
New York
Monday 19 June 2017 18:11 BST
Ms Fisher had been open about their struggles with drug abuse and mental illness
Ms Fisher had been open about their struggles with drug abuse and mental illness (AP)

Carrie Fisher had taken cocaine, heroin and ecstasy shortly before her death, according to an autopsy.

The results indicated that the 60-year-old actor had the three drugs in her system when she became ill on a flight last year. She had a heart attack as she flew from London to Los Angeles in December, and spent several days in intensive care until she died in hospital.

Fisher was best known for her role playing Princess Leia Organa in the original Star Wars trilogy, and later films in the franchise.

The exact cause of her death was unable to be determined in the coroner’s report, which indicated that several factors may have been involved. In addition to the drug use, Fisher suffered from sleep apnea. It was not clear if the drugs had actually contributed to her heart attack and death, or if they were merely coincidental.

Fisher’s drug abuse was well known previously, and she frequently discussed the diseases that challenged her in her work.

“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life,” daughter Billie Lourd said in a statement provided to People magazine. “She ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases.

“She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases. I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles. Seek help, fight for government funding for mental health programmes. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure. Love you Momby,” she wrote.

Fisher died just one day before her mother, fellow actress Debbie Reynolds. In addition to drug abuse, she frequently discussed suffering from bipolar disorder. She had previously admitted to taking cocaine and LSD.

“The only lesson for me, or anybody, is that you have to get help. I’m not embarrassed,” she told People in 2013 when discussing her inability to permanently quit doing drugs.

That willingness to discuss her struggles with drugs and mental health was cheered when she died this past winter. Fans and columnists wrote about her honesty, and encouraged more people to open up to that sort of conversation so that the stigma of the diseases could be lifted, allowing people who are suffering to seek out help and treatment.

That message is particularly important in the United States these days, where a heroin epidemic has exploded. Mortalities related to heroin, prescription pain killers, and other opioids have skyrocketed lately in a spike that has shadowed increases seen during the HIV and crack epidemic seen in the late 1990s.

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