In a report issued Friday, the Los Angeles County Coroner listed sleep apnea and drug use as contributing factors in the death of beloved Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher. A detailed follow-up released today determined she had ingested cocaine within 72 hours of going into cardiac arrest on December 23 aboard a flight from London as it approached L.A. The report also found traces of opiates, ecstasy, and alcohol in her system at the time of her death on December 27, according to the Los Angeles Times. Atherosclerotic heart disease was also cited as a factor in her death.
In her books, plays and interviews, Fisher had long been candid about her struggles with drug abuse and bipolar disorder. She was a product of Hollywood’s Golden Age; born in 1956 to actress Debbie Reynolds and the singer and actor Eddie Fisher, who famously dumped Reynolds when Carrie was three for actress Elizabeth Taylor. Not 20-years-old when she was cast as Princess Leia Organa in George Lucas’ game-changing science fiction movie Star Wars, and appeared in five of the franchise’s nine films, including Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is due in theaters this December. At the time of her death, Fisher was returning from a European press tour The Princess Diarist, which was based on diaries she had kept at the time of the movie’s filming.
Following the release of the coroner’s report, Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd told PEOPLE magazine, “My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it.” Fisher had long been an advocate for addiction and mental health treatment, as well as animal rights and LGBT causes. Speaking of her mother’s charitable work, Lourde said “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.”
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