Sleep ap­nea, ‘drug use’ cited in star’s death

Car­rie Fisher’s heart dis­ease also played a role, coro­ner says.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Richard Win­ton and Jack Dolan

The Los Angeles County coro­ner’s of­fice on Fri­day listed the cause of death for “Star Wars” star Car­rie Fisher as sleep ap­nea and other fac­tors, in­clud­ing drug use.

The coro­ner’s of­fice re­leased a short sum­mary of its find­ings, but of­fi­cials de­clined to make any ad­di­tional com­ments. The state­ment said “the man­ner of death has been ruled un­de­ter­mined.”

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.”

The re­port is vague about the role drugs played in Fisher’s death. But her 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, said he didn’t think there was any­thing new in the coro­ner’s state­ment.

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 a in­ter­na­tional flight.

A longer, more de­tailed re­port will prob­a­bly be­come avail­able Mon­day, the coro­ner’s of­fice said.

Fisher, 60, was taken to the hospi­tal by Los Angeles Fire Depart­ment paramedics on Dec. 23 af­ter col­laps­ing dur­ing her 11-hour flight from London to Los Angeles In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

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

She died days later on Dec. 27.

In Jan­uary, the L.A. coro­ner listed the cause of death as car­diac ar­rest.

As the daugh­ter of Hol­ly­wood cou­ple Deb­bie Reynolds and Ed­die Fisher, Car­rie Fisher was es­sen­tially born into show busi­ness.

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, 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.

Chris Pizzello As­so­ci­ated Press

A LONGER re­port on Car­rie Fisher might be avail­able Mon­day, the L.A. County coro­ner’s of­fice said.

Chris Pizzello As­so­ci­ated Press

CAR­RIE FISHER, right, with her mother, Deb­bie Reynolds. Fisher, who bat­tled ad­dic­tion and bipo­lar dis­or­der for many years, died Dec. 27, a day be­fore Reynolds.

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