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Friday 21 July 2017

Carrie Fisher had cocaine and other drugs in her system, coroner's report shows

Carrie Fisher died in December (Chris Pizzello/AP)
Carrie Fisher died in December (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Carrie Fisher had cocaine in her system when she fell ill on a plane last year, her post-mortem examination report shows, but investigators could not determine what impact the cocaine and other drugs found in the actress's system had on her death.

The report released on Monday states Fisher may have taken cocaine three days before the December 23 flight on which she became ill.

She died four days later.

It also found traces of heroin and MDMA, which is also known as ecstasy, but that they could not determine when Fisher had taken those drugs.

The findings were based on toxicology screenings done on samples taken when the Star Wars actress arrived at a Los Angeles hospital.

Coroner's officials ruled Fisher died from sleep apnoea and a combination of other factors.

A news release issued on Friday mentioned drugs were found in Fisher's system, but it did not provide details.

Monday's full report contains a detailed explanation of the results, such as why investigators believe Fisher took cocaine at least three days before her flight.

"At this time the significance of cocaine cannot be established in this case," the report states.

It also states that while heroin is detectable in the system for a briefer period of time, investigators could not determine when Fisher took it or the ecstasy.

Toxicology tests also found other opiates in Fisher's system, including morphine, although the report states the morphine could have been a by-product of heroin.

The report states: "Ms Fisher suffered what appeared to be a cardiac arrest on the airplane accompanied by vomiting and with a history of sleep apnea.

"Based on the available toxicological information, we cannot establish the significance of the multiple substances that were detected in Ms Fisher's blood and tissue, with regard to the cause of death."

Among the factors that contributed to Fisher's death was build-up of fatty tissue in the walls of her arteries, the coroner's office said last week.

The actress's brother Todd Fisher said on Friday he was not surprised that drugs may have contributed to his sister's death.

"I would tell you from my perspective that there's certainly no news that Carrie did drugs," Mr Fisher said.

He noted that his sister wrote extensively about her drug use, and that many of the drugs she took were prescribed by doctors to try to treat her mental health conditions.

Fisher long battled drug addiction and mental illness.

She said she smoked pot at 13, used LSD by 21 and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 24. She was treated with electroshock therapy and medication.

"I am not shocked that part of her health was affected by drugs," Mr Fisher said.

He said his sister's heart condition was probably worsened by her smoking habit, as well as the medications she took.

"If you want to know what killed her, it's all of it," he said.

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