The world of science fiction was hit with a devastating blow last December, when Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia Organa from the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, died suddenly after a flight from London to Los Angeles. At the time, it was stated that she had suffered a heart attack. The cause of this was unknown, but now that an autopsy has been performed, there are more details.
Unfortunately, the new information is still a little vague. According to the coroner’s report, Fisher’s death was caused by a combination of “sleep apnea and other undetermined factors.” There were signs of “multiple drug intake” and it appears that Fisher suffered from “atherosclerotic heart disease, a condition in which fats, cholesterol, and other substances build up on the artery walls.”
Fisher has been very open about her substance abuse, chronicling her struggles in her numerous memoirs and semi-autobiographical novels, including ‘Postcards From The Edge’, which was made into a movie in 1990, starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.
Fisher was the daughter of stars Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds and as you may recall, Fisher died the day after Carrie. Lourd joined her mother onscreen as Lieutenant Connix in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and will reprise the role in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, which will be Fisher’s last screen performance.
Lourd issued a statement, saying that her mother “battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life” and that “she ultimately died of it.”
She went on to elaborate:
“She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding 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.”
Interestingly, Fisher’s autobiographical works did help raise awareness to a degree. Sadly, it may be her death that really helps push the issue forward in people’s minds.
If you are in need of help, there are resources:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
There are Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Al-Anon (for family and friends of addicts) located EVERYWHERE. (Literally, even cruise ships provide meetings.) You can look them up on your phone and most offer guidance, phone numbers, literature and additional resources for help. And members are ALWAYS willing to help those in need, even if it’s just someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on.
Fisher’s death was a crushing blow, but hopefully some good will come from it if it can help others avoid the same demons that plagued her.