The most disturbing celebrity autopsy revelations in Hollywood history

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Few things galvanize the public’s attention like the passing of a celebrity. Whatever else is happening in the news, life seems to pause as people worldwide try to come to terms with the loss. 

Shortly after the death comes the autopsy, which frequently reveals unsavory realities about how the deceased lived his or her life outside the public eye. What follows is a list of 10 discoveries made during celebrity autopsies – some surprising, some illuminating, and all disturbing.

Errol Flynn ( 1909 – 1959)

Errol Flynn

Died at 50

 According to Canada’s National Post, coroner Glen McDonald found in Errol Flynn’s autopsy that the actor had died of a heart attack. He also found that the actor’s manhood was festooned with warts. This is perhaps unsurprising, as the swashbuckling actor had once said, “I can’t imagine anything more stressful than monogamy.”

Bruce Lee (1940-1973)

Died at 32.

Initially, doctors concluded that hypersensitivity to an ingredient in the headache medicine Equagesic had caused actor Bruce Lee to succumb to cerebral edema. However, the circumstances surrounding his death have led some to question those findings. In 2022, a study in the Clinical Kidney Journal suggested that his cerebral edema also could have been caused by low sodium levels in his blood.  

Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977)

Died at 42

Elvis Presley’s toxicology report showed high levels of codeine, Demerol, Dilaudid, Percodan, and that grooviest of 1970s drugs, Quaaludes. Two doctors who conducted the King’s autopsy found evidence of constipation, a common side effect of opiate use. In 2018, Dr. Howard Markel suggested on the PBS NewsHour site that the bethroned king was likely struggling to do his business, and the strain caused the heart attack that killed him.

 

John Belushi (1949-1982)

Died at 33

John Belushi’s appetite for drugs was legendary, sadly leading to his death. His autopsy showed that he had died from a speedball – a combination of cocaine and heroin. According to Time, his Martha’s Vineyard tombstone became so “trashed” by visiting well-wishers that his body had to be moved to an unmarked plot.

Heath Ledger (1979 – 2008)

Heath Ledger

Died at 28

The Australian actor was enjoying an ascendant career when he was found dead in his Manhattan apartment. The New York City medical examiner’s office said he died from “the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine.” He won a posthumous Academy Award for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight, which was released after his death.

Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009)

Prince and Michael Jackson

Prince and Michael Jackson

Died at 50

In the 1980s, there was no bigger star than the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The world was shocked by his death, but more shocking were some of the revelations from the autopsy. It found that the cause of death was “acute propofol intoxication,” but it also revealed that the hair on the singer’s head was “sparse” and “connected to a wig” and that his skin had “patches of light and dark pigmented areas.”

Amy Winehouse (1983- 2011)

Amy Winehouse

Died at 27

The singer was a popular attraction during the 2000s because of her soulful voice, but unfortunately, her drug consumption often obscured that. Indeed, singer Lily Allen told the Scotsman in 2008 that Winehouse got “out of her mind on drugs sometimes,” and the tabloids frequently ran photos of her in significantly compromised states. However, despite her very public history of narcotics use, BBC News reported that she had died of alcohol poisoning and had “no illegal substances” in her system whatsoever.

Whitney Houston (1963 – 2012)

Died at 48. When it came to soulful singing, Whitney Houston was unquestionably the GOAT, and her death in 2012 cut short a career that once seemed unstoppable. Her toxicology report found Benadryl, Flexeril, marijuana, and Xanax in her system, which “did not contribute” to her death. Instead, it was her decision to take a bath, as the coroner concluded that the cause of death was her accidental drowning in the bathtub.

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Died at 63. 

Beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams died by suicide, according to his autopsy. However, his widow told CNN that despite Williams’ past as a drug user, he had been sober for eight years, and the thing that led him to such a dark state was Lewy body dementia, discovered at the autopsy. The condition is the second most common form of progressive dementia in the United States after Alzheimer’s disease.

Prince (1958 – 2016)

Died at 57

Few people outside of the musician’s inner circle had any idea that Prince’s life was in danger, which made his passing a shock. More shocking was the cause of death – while he had managed to keep it a secret while he was alive, the autopsy revealed that the musician had died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl. According to the toxicology report obtained by the AP, Prince’s blood contained 67.8 micrograms per liter of fentanyl, a drug 50 times more powerful than heroin. Fifty-eight micrograms per liter is enough to be fatal.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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