A medical examiner in Florida said Thursday that comedian Bob Saget died from an accidental blow to the head, likely from a backwards fall.
Saget was found dead Jan. 9 in a Florida hotel room. He’d performed in the area the night before as part of a stand-up tour.
A toxicology analysis didn’t show any illicit drugs or toxins in Saget’s body, according to a statement from Medical Examiner Joshua Stephany in Orlando.
An autopsy report released later Thursday showed that Saget had an abrasion on his scalp, a fracture at the base of his skull, fractures around his eye sockets, bleeding between the brain and tissue covering the brain as well as bruises to the brain.
Saget was also positive for COVID-19 but had no inflammation in his respiratory system, according to the report.
“His injuries were most likely incurred from an unwitnessed fall,” the statement said. “The manner of death is accident.”
The medical examiner’s conclusion was first announced by Saget’s family on Wednesday.
“The authorities have determined that Bob passed from head trauma,” their statement said. “They have concluded that he accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it and went to sleep. No drugs or alcohol were involved.”
The report said that he was taking the prescription drug clonazepam, which treats anxiety, panic disorders and seizures.
According to the report, Saget also had cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart), and showed aortic atherosclerosis (plaque build-up inside the wall of the aorta) and coronary artery atherosclerosis (damage/disease in the heart’s major blood vessels).
“The head hits something hard and the skull fractures in different places including the orbits (the part of the skull around the eyes) and that causes bleeding which compresses the brain,” said Dr. Roshini Raj, an Associate Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Health, to People. “The force of the hit on the head can also directly bruise and damage the brain.”
“This report shows that the [skull and] brain suffered trauma which led to skull fractures, bruising of the brain and actual bleeding in the space around the brain,” said the doctor. “This blood can compress the brain and cause death. The coroner determined that this trauma was most likely caused by an accidental fall backward.”
The 65-year-old entertainer was found on his hotel bed at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando. A hotel security officer entered the room after Saget failed to check out, and called 911. There were no signs of foul play, authorities said last month.
Best known for his role as beloved single dad Danny Tanner on the sitcom Full House and as the wisecracking host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, Saget was married to Kelly Rizzo Saget and had three daughters from a previous marriage.
Saget was on the road as part of his “I Don’t Do Negative Comedy Tour,” and said just before his death that he enjoyed warm audience receptions in Orlando and the Ponte Vedra Beach resort area.
“I’m back in comedy like I was when I was 26. I guess I’m finding my new voice and loving every moment of it,” he’d posted on Instagram.
Saget’s death prompted an outpouring of affection from fans and colleagues, who recalled him as both funny and extraordinarily kind. His family said they were overwhelmed and comforted by “the incredible outpouring of love from Bob’s fans.”
“As we continue to mourn together, we ask everyone to remember the love and laughter that Bob brought to this world, and the lessons he taught us all: to be kind to everyone, to let the people you love know you love them, and to face difficult times with hugs and laughter,” his family said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department told People “the case is still open,” and it plans to continue investigating Saget’s death. They didn’t elaborate further on what they’re investigating.
— With files from Global News’ Chris Jancelewicz
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