Michelle McNamara’s cause of death has been revealed: comedian Patton Oswalt has revealed that he had learned his wife’s cause of death last April, but that that L.A. County Coroner’s office still has not officially determined what killed the 46-year-old blogger and crime writer.
As the Associated Press reports, Patton Oswalt revealed last week that last year, he was told by the L.A. County Coroner’s Office that Michelle McNamara’s cause of death was a combination of prescription medications and an undiagnosed heart condition.
“We learned today the combination of drugs in Michelle’s system, along with a condition we were unaware of, proved lethal.”
Specifically, according to Forbes, when McNamara died in her sleep last April, she was found to have a combination of Adderall (a prescription medicine used to treat attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder), Xanax (a drug used to treat anxiety that essentially functions as a tranquilizer), and Fentanyl (a powerful opioid narcotic painkiller), in her system.
Combined with the undiagnosed heart condition that caused blockage in her arteries, the combination proved deadly for the comparatively young mother.
It bears noting that, as of this writing, the L.A. County Coroner’s Office still officially lists Michelle McNamara’s cause of death as “pending.”
Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara were married in 2005.
Before she died, Michelle McNamara had been a true-crime writer and blogger. She founded the website True Crime Diary, where she blogged about breaking news stories about crimes, as well as old, unsolved “cold cases.” (By the way, her website is still up, but has not been updated since June 2015, a year before she died.) She had also been working on a non-fiction true-crime book, The Golden State Killer, which was left unfinished at the time of his death. Patton announced after Michelle’s death that he would be working on finishing the book, according to The A.V. Club.
She also left behind a daughter, Alice Wrigney Oswalt, who was seven years old at the time of her mother’s death.
— DAFIT FANBase (@DAFIT_Fanbase) February 5, 2017
A few weeks after Michelle’s death, Patton wrote a heartfelt message on Facebook, describing what it’s like to live with the grief of his wife’s passing.
“What other choice do I have? Reality is in a death spiral and we seem to be living in a cackling, looming nightmare-swamp. We’re all being dragged into a shadow-realm of doom by hateful lunatics who are determined to send our planet careening into oblivion.”
While Patton Oswalt and his daughter try to piece their lives back together in the wake of Michelle’s death, Forbes writer Rita Rubin has been looking into the larger issues related to Michelle McNamara’s cause of death: namely, the dangers of using prescription drugs in combination.
“Depending on the drugs and the reasons for which they are prescribed, [the use of multiple prescription medications in combination with one another] can either be lifesaving or deadly.”
Rubin also notes that, in addition to Michelle McNamara, other celebrities have died of drug combinations as well. Heath Ledger and Philip Seymour Hoffman also died from drug combinations, although in both of those cases, those men had far more drugs in her system than Michelle McNamara did.
Regardless of Michelle McNamara’s death and what caused it, since Michelle’s death, Patton has been slowly getting back to work in acting and comedy. In a touching tribute, Patton dedicated the third season finale of The Goldbergs, where Patton provides the voice-over narration for the main character as an adult, to his late wife.
[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]