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Updated July 09, 2017


Carrie Fisher likely had traces of cocaine, heroin and other opiates in her system when she died, according to an autopsy report released by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. But it’s unclear what significance those drugs had in causing her death.

The fuller report follows a statement from the coroner’s office that Fisher died from sleep apnea and other factors, and that while she showed signs of taking multiple drugs, her official cause of death would be listed as undetermined.

Atherosclerotic heart disease was also noted in the autopsy report. Fisher, 60, “suffered what appeared to be a cardiac arrest on the airplane, accompanied by vomiting and with a history of sleep apnea,” reads the report.

Evidence suggests Fisher may have been exposed to cocaine three days before she boarded an international flight on Dec 23, 2016, according to the report. She went into cardiac arrest on the plane, and died four days later.

Fisher was also likely exposed to heroin, morphine, methadone and meperidine, as well as ecstasy (MDMA), but it’s unclear when she may have taken those drugs, according to the coroner’s report.

Carrie Fisher had cocaine, heroin and other opiates in her system when she died, autopsy shows

“Based on the available toxicology information, we cannot establish the significance of the multiple substances that were determined in Ms. Fisher’s blood and tissue, with regard to her cause of death,” reads the report.

Fisher had long been open about her struggles with mental illness and addiction, and became an advocate for removing stigmas. She told Diane Sawyer in 2000 that doctors diagnosed her with mania when she was in her mid-20s. “I thought they told me I was manic depressive to make me feel better about being a drug addict,” Fisher said.

“I am mentally ill. I can say that,” Fisher told Sawyer. “I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.”

After initial details about Fisher’s cause of death came out, Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd said her mother was “purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases.”

“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it,” Lourd said in a statement to People.

Lourd 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 programmes. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure.”

By arrangement with The Washington Post

Published in Dawn, ICON, July 9th, 2017