carrie fisher tribute

Screengrab via Star Wars/YouTube

Carrie Fisher’s death undetermined, but sleep apnea, other issues might have played a role

Multiple drugs were found in her system.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Jun 17, 2017   Updated on May 23, 2021, 2:47 am CDT

When Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60 last December, it was reported that she had suffered a massive cardiac arrest. Best known as playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, Fisher suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to New York and died a few days later.

On Friday night, the coroner’s report was released, and though it said the exact cause of her death was unknown, sleep apnea and a buildup of fatty tissue in her arteries played a significant role, according to the Associated Press. The coroner’s release also said there were signs of multiple drugs in her system, but it couldn’t be determined whether they contributed to her death.

Her death certificate, released in January, said she had died from cardiac arrest.

Her brother, Todd Fisher, said the family hadn’t wanted a coroner’s investigation, telling the AP, “We’re not enlightened. There’s nothing about this that is enlightening.”

In a statement given to People, Fisher’s daughter, Billie 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.

“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 programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure. Love you Momby.”

Fisher will reprise her role as Leia Organa in the eighth episode of the Star Wars franchise.

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*First Published: Jun 17, 2017, 8:41 am CDT