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Patton Oswalt Reveals Wife’s Cause Of Death

Comedian, actor, and voice-over artist Patton Oswalt lost his wife Michelle McNamara nearly a year ago, and finally has the cause of death that has been a long time coming.Though the coroner is still saying the official cause of death was pending, it seems that McNamara, 46, had an undiagnosed heart condition, and that, mixed with a combination of prescription drugs, caused her to pass in her sleep.

This past year has had several sudden deaths that were determined to be natural causes, including Carrie Fisher, George Michael, and Alan Thicke, who was playing ice hockey with his adult son one minute, and having a fatal heart attack the next, says the Inquisitr. Thicke was considered to be in excellent shape and played ice hockey twice a week with his son Carter for years.

Patton Oswalt has come forward to say that neither he nor McNamara knew that she had a condition that caused the blockage of her arteries, says PageSix. A statement from Oswalt’s representative said that the heart condition combined with the variety of meds McNamara was taking caused her sudden death. It seems that Michelle McNamara was taking a variety of different drugs that, when combined, could have caused death on their own.


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In McNamara’s system were Adderall, Xanax, and Fentanyl. Adderall is a stimulant, which is most often given to children with ADHD; Xanax is a sedative; and Fentanyl, which is often delivered in a patch, is an incredibly strong opiate, mostly given post-surgically, or to cancer patients.

It is unclear if Patton Oswalt was aware that his wife Michelle was taking those drugs in that combination, or if the doctors who prescribed them knew that she was taking them all at once, but People Magazine said that Oswalt is one step closer to finding out what happened.

“We learned today the combination of drugs in Michelle’s system, along with a condition we were unaware of, proved lethal.”

Los Angeles coroner’s Lt. David Smith confirmed that Michelle McNamara’s official cause of death still has not been determined or released. Late last year, Oswalt had pondered whether his wife had accidentally overdosed, recalling their last night together. He said that McNamara, a writer, had been working on a book about a serial rapist and killer, and between working long hours, combined with anxiety and nightmares, Oswalt thought she would benefit from a full night sleep.

Patton Oswalt told her to try to “sleep until she woke up,” so she took some Xanax and went to bed. Sadly, she never woke up. The next morning, he got their daughter Alice dressed and brought her to school, and returned home just after 9 to bring his wife coffee and left it on her night table. He checked on her a few hours later, and she wasn’t breathing, so he called 911. At the time, he thought it must have been a reaction to the Xanax.

After the death of his wife, Michelle McNamara, Oswalt wrote a piece for GQ about being alone, after losing a spouse.

“This is my first time being a single father. I’ve missed forms for school. I’ve forgotten to stock the fridge with food she likes. I’ve run out of socks for her. I’ve run out of socks for me. It sucked and it was a hassle every time, but the world kept turning. I said, ‘Whoops, my bad,’ and fixed it and kept stumbling forward. I’m going to keep going forward, looking stupid and clumsy and inexperienced at first, then eventually getting it, until the next jolt comes, and the next floor drops out from under me, until there are no more floors.”

Michelle McNamara passed away last year on April 21.

[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]