Saturday 18 January 2020

Sleep apnoea a trigger in Carrie Fisher's death - coroner

Carrie had long spoken about her battles with drug addiction and mental illness.

By Kerri-Ann Roper

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.

The sleeping condition and a build-up of fatty tissue in her arteries were among the issues recorded, a Los Angeles coroner said on Friday.


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

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.

PA Media

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