Accidental Drug Overdose Killed Farley, Autopsy Shows

Comedian Chris Farley died of an accidental overdose of cocaine and morphine, the medical examiner announced Friday.

A narrowing of the arteries supplying the heart muscle was a significant contributing factor in his death, Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Edmund Donoghue said in a statement.

Farley’s brother found the body of the 33-year-old “Saturday Night Live” and movie comic Dec. 18 on the floor of his apartment in the posh John Hancock Building. Police said they found no sign of foul play or drugs in the apartment.

But toxicology tests found morphine, a painkiller derived from opium, and cocaine in Farley’s blood. A similar combination, heroin and cocaine, killed Farley’s idol, comedian John Belushi, in 1982. Blood tests also indicated that Farley had taken fluoxetine, an antidepressant sold as Prozac, and an antihistamine, but those did not contribute to his death, Donoghue said.

“Both lungs showed edema and congestion, which is a common finding in opiate intoxication,” Donoghue wrote.


“The liver showed fatty change which is frequently seen in heavy drinkers.”

The comedian’s father, Thomas Farley, would not comment on the results. “I’m just getting over it. I know he’s in God’s hands now,” Farley said Friday in a telephone interview from his home in Madison, Wis.

The 290-pound actor waged a battle against overeating, drugs and alcohol, Farley’s friends have said. Newspapers reported after his death that he was seen on drinking binges during his last few days.