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Coroner: Elliott Smith death open question

Smith appears on the cover of his 1997 album "Either/Or."

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Elliott Smith

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) -- Los Angeles coroner's officials said Tuesday they could not determine whether the stab wounds that killed Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter Elliott Smith in October were self-inflicted.

An autopsy report appears to leave the nature of Smith's death, which was initially called a suicide by Los Angeles police, an open question.

The body of Smith -- who earned an Oscar nomination and widespread notice for his 1997 single "Miss Misery" from the film "Good Will Hunting" -- was found in October at his Los Angeles home by the musician's live-in girlfriend.

Coroner's spokesman David Campbell said Smith, 34, died from two "penetrating stab wounds" to the chest.

"The trauma that he sustained could have been inflicted by him or by another and the coroner has not been able to make a determination," Campbell said.

Campbell said toxicology tests found no illegal or controlled substances in Smith's system. The singer was apparently taking anti-depressants and medication for attention deficit disorder at the time of his death but was not abusing them, Campbell said.

He said the case would remain open and that coroner's officials would revisit their findings if additional information surfaced.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department said homicide detectives also would "look again" at Smith's death following the autopsy report. He said the case was initially reported to the LAPD as a suicide.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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