The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner has issued a statement on the December 27, 2016 death of Carrie Fisher, ruling that the cause of death is undetermined, but that a number of factors—including sleep apnea, atherosclerotic heart disease, and drug use—were involved.
Fisher’s daughter, actress Billie Lourd, issued a statement to People tonight, discussing the impact of drugs and mental illness on her mother’s life:
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.
As noted by her brother, Todd, Fisher wrote extensively about her drug use over the years. Writing in her blisteringly honest (and hilarious) semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards From The Edge, Fisher once described the various “types” of people encountered during a stint at rehab:
The cocaine people sleep all the time because by the time they get here, they haven’t slept in weeks. We opiates have been sleeping a lot, so now we roam the halls at night, twitching through our withdrawals. I think there should be ball teams: The Opiates vs. the Amphetamines. The Opiates scratch and do hand signals and nod out, and the Amphetamines run around the bases and scream. There are no rules to this game, but there are plenty of players.
Fisher was 60 at the time of her death. Her ashes were laid to rest in a private ceremony in January.