Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds deaths: Causes released

Carrie Fisher died of cardiac arrest, with the underlying cause still undetermined, while her mother Debbie Reynolds succumbed to a brain hemorrhage and hypertension, according to their death certificates.

TMZ.com posted the public documents, issued Monday by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health. “Star Wars” icon Fisher died at 8:55 a.m. on Dec. 27 at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, age 60, with her immediate cause of death listed as “Cardiac arrest/deferred.” According to a department newsletter, “deferred” is used “while waiting for the cause of death results. If a death certificate is registered as ‘deferred,’ an amendment needs to be filed by the coroner … as soon as the results are available.” Fisher’s certificate said the manner of death is still “pending investigation.”

Last week Los Angeles Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said her autopsy results had been placed on a security hold that delays public release, not uncommon in high-profile deaths.

Hollywood legend Reynolds died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center a day after her daughter, at 5:39 p.m. The immediate causes of the 84-year-old’s death were an intracerebral hemorrhage — a sudden blood leakage into brain tissue, causing a stroke — and hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure.

Fisher had suffered her cardiac arrest while on a flight from London to Los Angeles on Dec. 23, and was hospitalized upon arrival. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, a cardiac arrest differs from a heart attack. The former occurs when an electrical malfunction in the heart creates an irregular heartbeat that disrupts the flow of blood to the brain and other organs. A heart attack is the result of a blocked artery preventing blood from reaching part of the heart.