Carrie Fisher's death triggered by sleep apnoea and other factors

The Star Wars actress ‘ultimately’ died of drug addiction and mental illness, her daughter says

Chris Baynes
Saturday 17 June 2017 14:19
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Fans pay respects to Carrie Fisher and mother Debbie Reynolds at joint memorial

Carrie Fisher's death was triggered by sleep apnoea and various other factors but an exact cause could not be determined, a coroner has said.

Her daughter Billie Lourd said she “ultimately” died of drug addiction and mental illness after the coroner on Friday said the Star Wars actress had taken multiple drugs before her death.

The sleep disorder and a build-up of fatty tissue in her arteries were among the issues recorded as factors.

The Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner added that “multiple drug intake” was how the “injury occurred” but said that its significance could not be determined.

In a statement to People magazine, Lourd said: “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, 60, was taken ill on a flight to Los Angeles from London, where she was filming for British sitcom Catastrophe, in December.

The actress had long spoken about her battles with drug addiction and mental illness, becoming a particularly prominent voice for those who are bipolar.

The coroner recorded her death as “undetermined” and also noted she had atherosclerotic heart disease, where the heart's arteries harden and narrow.

No more information was released by the coroner, nor were questions answered about whether a full postmortem examination report and toxicology results were available.

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A spokesman said a further statement would be released next week.

Sleep apnoea is a common condition in which a person stops breathing in their sleep.

There are two types of the disorder: obstructive, where the throat's walls relax and narrow during sleep, and central, where the brain fails to prompt the body to breathe.

Both conditions can increase this risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Fisher, who found fame playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, died in hospital on 27 December. Her movie star mother Debbie Reynolds died the following day.

The pair were laid to rest together in a cemetery in Hollywood Hills.

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