WESTWOOD—The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office released a report on Monday, June 19, revealing that “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher had cocaine and other drugs in her system at the time of her death on December 27, 2016.
Fisher became unresponsive after going into cardiac arrest on a flight from London to Los Angeles on December 23. She remained in critical condition and on a ventilator before she died four days later, at the age of 60.
The autopsy report was based on toxicology screenings done when Fisher arrived at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in December. Traces of cocaine, methadone, other opiates, alcohol, and MDMA, also known as ecstasy, were detected in her system. According to the tests, the cocaine may have been taken in the last 72 hours prior to her death. It is unclear when the other drugs in her system were consumed.
“There are significant limitations in one’s ability to interpret toxicology results and their contribution to cause of death,” the report stated.
Investigators could not determine exactly what role the drugs played in Fisher’s death. The latest test results were revealed three days after the coroner’s office released a preliminary report of its findings on Friday, June 16, which listed sleep apnea as a cause of death, along with a history of atherosclerotic heart disease, drug use, and other undetermined factors.
“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life,” Billie Lourd, Fisher’s daughter, said in a statement to People magazine. “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.”
The actress’ brother, Todd Fisher, noted that his sister’s battle with drug addiction and mental illness “slowly but surely put her health in jeopardy over many, many years.” Fisher, also an author and screenwriter, was open about her struggle with drugs and bipolar disorder. She said she first smoked pot at 13 years old, used LSD by 21, and underwent electroshock therapy.
“If you want to know what killed her, it’s all of it,” Todd said, according to reports.
Fisher was the daughter of singer and actor Eddie Fisher and “Singin’ in the Rain” actress Debbie Reynolds, who died one day after her daughter on December 28, at age 84.
Fisher made her feature film debut in “Shampoo” in 1975, alongside Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. She is best known for playing Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise, including “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), and “Return of the Jedi” (1983). In 2015, she reprised her role as Princess Leia in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” alongside Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Peter Mayhew, who were all cast in their original roles. She completed filming for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” before her death, which will be released in December 2017.
Fisher and her mother appeared in “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” a documentary about their relationship that premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and debuted on HBO. Fisher’s memoir, “The Princess Diarist,” based on diaries she kept while filming the original “Star Wars” trilogy, was released in November 2016. In March 2017, a public memorial was held for Fisher and Reynolds at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills.