04 May Corey Haim Died from Pneumonia, not Prescription Drug Abuse
Actor Corey Haim died from pneumonia complicated by an enlarged heart and narrowed blood vessels, while the prescription drugs found in his system played no role in his death, the Los Angeles County coroner said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Haim, 38, died of natural causes from "community-acquired pneumonia" that damaged his lungs, according to an autopsy report.
Low levels of eight drugs, including both prescription and over-the-counter medications, were found in his system along with marijuana, coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey said.
"But nothing was at a level that would have contributed to his death," Harvey said.
They included tranquilizers and some common cold and flu medications, such as ibuprofen and a cough-suppressant, the report said.
Haim, who had struggled with drug problems throughout his life, died March 10 after collapsing in his mother’s apartment. Haim was ill with flulike symptoms before his death, and police said he was taking over-the-counter and prescription medications.
"The pneumonia is what killed him," Harvey said.
Mark Heaslip, the actor’s agent, did not return a phone message seeking comment Tuesday.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown said in April that Haim employed "doctor shopping" to obtain 553 prescription pills in the two months before his death. Brown called Haim — the star of 1980s films such as "The Lost Boys" and "License to Drive" — a poster child for prescription drug abuse. He said Haim obtained powerful sedatives such as Valium and Xanax and painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin.
However, no OxyContin was found in his body, Harvey said. He noted that Haim’s heart was abnormally large and factored in his death.
"His heart was 530 grams. The average normal heart weighs 300 grams," Harvey said.
Haim also had damaged lungs and arteriosclerosis of his coronary arteries, with some vessels 50-percent and even 75-percent blocked. Haim also had an enlarged liver.
Harvey said it was unclear how long Haim had suffered from the medical problems or the pneumonia or whether earlier treatment might have saved him.
A message left with Brown’s office was not immediately returned Tuesday.
The report said that Haim had been feeling ill two days before his death and had a fever and severe cough. The report said he stayed in bed all day March 9 and his mother gave him tea, vegetable soup, Robituson, Tylenol and Advil, and Zophren. He appeared disoriented and collapsed to his knees at about 12:30 a.m. the next day.
"His mother helped him back into bed. His body began to shake in all directions and his eyes rolled back. His mother called 911," according to the report’s synopsis.
He stopped breathing and his mother performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. Haim was pronounced dead in an emergency room at 2:15 a.m.
The report said that Haim had a history of drug abuse and had taken several prescription medications about five days before his death. He also had a history of heart murmur and possibly hypertension.
Drugs found in Haim’s system included the cough-suppressant dextromethorphan; the antihistamine diphenhydramine; carisoprodol, a prescription muscle relaxant; the tranquilizers diazepam and meprobamate, which are found in Valium and other medications; and the antidepressants fluoxetine and olanzapine.
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