Wednesday 22 November 2017

Carrie Fisher's death was triggered by sleep apnoea - as daughter reveals mother's drug addiction

Billie Lourd, right, with her mother Carrie Fisher at the world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Invision/AP)
Billie Lourd, right, with her mother Carrie Fisher at the world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Invision/AP)

Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher's death was triggered by sleep apnoea and various "other factors" but an exact cause could not be determined, a coroner has said.

Her daughter Billie Lourd said that she "ultimately" died of drug addiction and mental illness after the coroner on Friday said Fisher had taken multiple drugs before her death.

The sleeping condition and a build-up of fatty tissue in her arteries were among the issues recorded as factors.

The Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner added that "multiple drug intake" was how the "injury occurred" but said that its significance could not be determined.

In a statement to US entertainment website People, 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."

Fisher, 60, was taken ill on a flight to Los Angeles from London, where she was filming for British sitcom Catastrophe, in December.

The actress had long spoken about her battles with drug addiction and mental illness, becoming a particularly prominent voice for those who are bipolar.

The coroner recorded her death as "undetermined" and also noted she had atherosclerotic heart disease, where the heart's arteries harden and narrow.

No more information was released by the coroner, nor were questions answered about whether a full post-mortem examination report and toxicology results were available.

A spokesman said a further statement would be released on Monday.

There are two types of sleep apnoea: obstructive, where the throat's walls relax and narrow during sleep, and central, where the brain fails to prompt the body to breathe.

Both conditions can increase this risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Fisher, who found fame playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, lost her fight for life in hospital on December 27 and her movie star mother Debbie Reynolds died the following day.

The pair were laid to rest together in a cemetery in Hollywood Hills.

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