Carrie Fisher's death caused by sleep apnea, other factors: coroner

LOS ANGELES: The death last year of actor Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" franchise, was due to sleep apnea and other causes, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said in a statement on Friday.

Fisher died aged 60 on December 27, four days after she became unresponsive on a flight from London to Los Angeles and was rushed to a hospital.

Fisher was a mental health advocate who spoke about her struggles with bipolar disorder and cocaine addiction. Aside from her film work, she was also popular as a writer and humorist and her memoir "The Princess Diarist" was released a few weeks before she died.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office conducted an examination of her body on Dec. 30 and has since found she died of sleep apnea and "other undetermined factors," the coroner's statement said.

Fisher also had atherosclerotic heart disease and had used drugs, the statement said, but noted the significance of these factors in relation to her demise had not been ascertained.

A watch commander for the coroner's office declined to provide additional details on the findings, referring questions to a representative who was not immediately available.

Carrie Fisher came from a Hollywood family, as the daughter of actor Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher.

The day after Carrie Fisher died, Reynolds, who starred in Hollywood musicals such as "Singin' in the Rain," suffered a stroke and died, aged 84. Eddie Fisher died in 2010.

Born in Beverly Hills, Carrie Fisher got her show business start at age 12 in her mother's Las Vegas nightclub act. She made her film debut as a teenager in 1975 comedy "Shampoo," two years before her breakthrough in the first "Star Wars" movie.

Fisher reprised the role in later "Star Wars" sequels, gaining sex symbol status in "Return of the Jedi" in 1983 when her Leia character wore a metallic gold bikini while enslaved by the diabolical Jabba the Hutt.

In the 2015 film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," also known as "Episode VII" of the franchise, she appeared again as Leia, who by then had become an astute military general.

After undergoing treatment in the mid-1980s for cocaine addiction, Fisher wrote the bestselling novel "Postcards from the Edge," about a drug-abusing actress forced to move in with her mother. The book was later adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.