Carrie Fisher in 2015.
Carrie Fisher continued to struggle with drug use in the days before her death, one of many details to emerge from an autopsy report released Monday that was full of new information but still frustratingly short on conclusions.
The official cause of Fisher’s death on Dec. 27 was ruled "cardiac arrest … accompanied by vomiting and with a history of sleep apnea." The autopsy report also noted that she had cocaine, heroin and MDMA in her system, but states clearly that investigators could not determine what, if any, impact those substances may have had on her death.
"I would tell you, from my perspective that there’s certainly no news that Carrie did drugs," her brother, Todd Fisher, told The Associated Press on Monday. He noted that some substances were prescriptions for the mental health issues she had spoken openly about for years, adding that cigarettes had probably worsened her heart condition.
"If you want to know what killed her, it’s all of it," he said.
Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, gave a statement to People over the weekend, in response to an initial Los Angeles coroner’s press release that mentioned only that drugs were found in Fisher’s system:
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. She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases. 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 programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure. Love you Momby.
Monday’s complete report said it appeared Fisher had used cocaine three days before her flight from London to Los Angeles. It could not be determined when she had used heroin or MDMA, but did state that those drugs are detectable for a shorter period.
After playing Princess Leia three times from 1977 to 1983, much of Fisher’s life and creative output centered on her struggles with addiction. She adapted her 1990 autobiographical book Postcards from the Edge for the bigscreen (with dear friend Meryl Streep playing the lead role), and her one-woman show Wishful Drinking revisited many of those themes.
For her funeral in January, her brother Todd carried her remains in an oversized Prozac-pill shaped capsule — which he said was "her favorite thing" — a final gesture as a mental-health advocate.
Fisher died Dec. 27 at age 60, less than a week after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to LAX. The following day her mother, Singin’ in the Rain star and Hollywood royalty Debbie Reynolds was stricken with stroke-like symptoms and died hours later. She was 84.