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Carrie Fisher Died of Sleep Apnea, Other Undetermined Factors, Says Coroner

Variety logo Variety 6/17/2017 Alex Stedman
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Carrie Fisher died of sleep apnea and a number of other factors, officials said on Friday, but could not come to a definitive cause of death after an examination.

Fisher died on Dec. 27 at the age of 60. The examination by the Los Angeles County of Medical Examiner-Coroner also cited “multiple drug intake” and atherosclerotic heart disease, but did not specify further.

“The manner of death has been ruled undetermined,” said the release. Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, issued a statement to People addressing the “drug use” portion after the release of the report.

“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it,” she said. “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,” the statement continued. “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 programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure. Love you Momby.”

Fisher had indeed publicly discussed her struggles with bipolar disorder and drug use, saying in a 2001 interview with Psychology Today that “drugs made me feel more normal.” “They contained me,” she said. She noted in other interviews that she had used cocaine on the set of “The Empire Strikes Back,” and struggled with addictions to prescription medication.

Fisher had a heart attack Dec. 23 while on a flight from London to Los Angeles, and died several days after. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, died the next day after suffering a stroke.

The autopsy report will be released on Monday.

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