Though sleep apnea was a primary factor in her death, it was not the only thing that led to her demise at the age of 60. The statement from the coroner's office cited Fisher's drug use as a factor in her death, but claimed the significance of their role was, "not ascertained."
Fisher's children were more certain of the impact of outside influences. Her daughter, Billie Lourd, delivered a statement to People late Friday night, explicitly connecting her mom's death to her fight with addiction.
“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it," said Lourd. "She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases. She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases. I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles."
Lourd is right about one thing for sure—Fisher did not hide her battle with addiction, and she even went so far as to have her ashes stored inside of a jumbo Prozac pill. While she was alive, she was fearless about putting her struggles out in the open, which helped endear her to people beyond their love for her acting work.
Fisher's death via heart attack sent shockwaves around the world, inspiring tributes from generations of fans that were inspired by her career. Unfortunately, it looks like we won't get to see her in films beyond Star Wars: The Last Jedi, despite early speculation she would appear in Episode IX.
There are not many people who so effortlessly jumped from being the damsel in distress to a badass capable of saving the day, but Fisher pulled it off. Whatever factors ended up causing her death, her honesty, grit, and knack for humor are greatly missed.