Carrie Fisher Cause of Death: Actress Died of Sleep Apnea & ‘Undetermined’ Factors

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Carrie Fisher speaks onstage during Wizard World Comic Con on August 21, 2016. (Getty)

After months of speculation, the Los Angeles coroner’s office released their findings in the death of actress Carrie Fisher.

In a statement released on Friday evening, the coroner’s office indicates that Fisher did not die from cardiac arrest, as was previously believed, but from sleep apnea and a combination of other “undetermined” factors. Sleep apnea, a condition that Fisher had never spoken publicly about, is defined as a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep.

According to the 2011 book Biological Rhythms, Sleep and Hyponosis by Simon Green, sleep apnea can lead to momentary lapses in oxygen. “When breathing is paused, carbon dioxide builds up in the bloodstream. Chemoreceptors in the blood stream note the high carbon dioxide levels. The brain is signaled to wake the person sleeping and breathe in air. Breathing normally will restore oxygen levels and the person will fall asleep again.”

Read the official report below.

The report also revealed that Fisher had buildup of fat in the walls of her arteries, and that while she had taken taken multiple drugs prior to her death, investigators could not determine whether they contributed to her death late last year. Additionally, the coroner’s office cited Ashteroscierotic heart disease as one of the potentially “undetermined” factors that were listed on the official report.

And though the cause of death has been ruled the result of “sleep apnea and other undetermined factors,” the manner of death remains unknown.

Previously, Fisher was believed to have died as a result of cardiac arrest, as she was hospitalized after a massive heart attack on December 23rd. TMZ reported that Fisher died in the hospital of cardiac arrest – meaning her heart simply stopped – at the point when her family had began discussing taking her off life support.

Fisher, 60, died on December 27th after suffering a heart attack on a flight home from London where she was promoting her latest book, The Princess Diarist. Various United Airlines passengers attempted to administer first aid until the plane landed at LAX, where he was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She never regained consciousness.

Fisher will next been seen in the film Star Wars Episode VII: The Last Jedi, which is set for release on December 15th.


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