Although Fisher’s family objected to a full autopsy, toxicology tests and an external examination of the actor and activist’s body were conducted in order to help identify the cause of death. According to the report, the coroner listed sleep apnea as her primary cause of death, with use of drugs as a contributing factor.
On Dec. 27, 2016, Fisher went into cardiac arrest on a flight from London to Los Angeles and never recovered. The autopsy report says that her assistant was with her on the plane and that she had “multiple apneic episodes” — meaning that she stopped breathing while she was asleep — which for her, was normal. But by the end of the flight, she didn’t wake up.
It was not exactly clear when Fisher had taken cocaine and the autopsy report found that it could have been as early as three days before her flight. It also found that she likely had been exposed to heroin, which may have inhibited her breathing as she was sleeping. She was also taking several legal drugs prescribed to her, including Prozac, Abilify and Lamictal in addition to taking oxycodone without a prescription.
Although multiple illegal and legal substances were found in Fisher’s system, it’s still unclear whether any were the specific reason for her death.
“Based on the available toxicological information, we cannot establish the significance of the multiple substances that were detected in Ms. Fisher’s blood and tissue, with regard to the cause of death,” the report indicates.