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Farley died from overdose of cocaine, morphine

January 2, 1998
Web posted at: 3:50 p.m. EST (2050 GMT)

CHICAGO (CNN) -- Comedian Chris Farley died accidentally from an overdose of cocaine and morphine, and his body showed no traces of alcohol, the Cook County Medical Examiner announced Friday.

Coronary atherosclerosis -- a narrowing of the arteries supplying the heart muscle -- was a significant contributing factor in the 33-year-old Farley's death on December 18, Dr. Edmund Donoghue said in a statement.

All three of Farley's coronary arteries showed significant signs of narrowing, which is common in opiate intoxication, Donoghue said.

Toxicology tests found morphine, a painkiller derived from opium, and cocaine in Farley's blood.

Blood tests also found Farley had taken fluoxetine, an antidepressant sold as Prozac, and an antihistamine, but those did not contribute to his death, Donoghue said.

Farley and Newt Gingrich
For fun, Farley imitates Speaker Newt Gingrich on the floor of the House   

"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."

Farley was 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed 296 pounds at the time of his death, the medical examiner said.

The comedian's father, Thomas Farley, would not comment about 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, Wisconsin, where Chris Farley grew up.

Friends say he fought overindulgences

Farley's brother found his body on the floor of his apartment in the posh John Hancock Building. Police said there was no sign of foul play or drugs in the apartment.

Farley in "Beverly Hills Ninja"   

The boisterous comedian was known for his roles on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," where he was a cast member from 1990 to 1995. He joined Chicago's Second City improvisational troupe before moving on to "SNL."

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

Former "Saturday Night Live" writer Al Franken said producer Lorne Michaels repeatedly suspended Farley from the show and told him to get help.

Farley played a string of witless but lovable slobs in such movies as "Tommy Boy," "Black Sheep" and "Beverly Hills Ninja." He was a 1986 graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, where he studied theater and communication.


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