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Empire Actress Lindsey Pearlman's Cause of Death Revealed 6 Months After She Was Found Dead at 43 – PEOPLE

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Writer/Reporter, PEOPLE
Chelsea White is West Coast Digital Night News Editor at PEOPLE. As a senior news editor, she assigns and edits stories across verticals from crime to style. Prior to working at PEOPLE, the award-winning journalist has covered everything from the Oscars to violent gang wars for media outlets across the globe including The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Star and Celebuzz as well as producing content for Us Weekly, Women's Weekly, Woman's Day, NW and OK! Magazine.
Lindsey Pearlman‘s cause of death has been confirmed following an autopsy by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner.
Earlier this year, the former Empire cast member was found dead inside a vehicle near the entrance of Runyon Canyon Park — a popular hiking trail in Hollywood, Calif. — on Feb. 18, the date the coroner listed as the day she died. She was 43.
On Monday, the coroner officially ruled her death as a suicide caused by sodium nitrite toxicity, according to a report obtained by PEOPLE.
The report also noted that "the presence of non-toxic levels of lorazepam, metoclopramide, and codeine" were found in Lindsey's system.
Prior to her death, Lindsey was reported missing on Feb. 13. Her cousin, Savannah Pearlman, tweeted on Feb. 17 that the former General Hospital actress’ phone was last pinged on Sunset Blvd. — just 1.5 miles from where her body was located near the intersection of Franklin Ave. and North Sierra Bonita Ave.
Savannah also wrote in her Twitter thread at the time that Lindsey’s sister requested they share the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255, adding, “Please know that you are never truly alone.”
Lindsey's husband, Vance Smith, confirmed his wife's death on Instagram, writing, "The police found Lindsey. She's gone," before adding: "I'm broken."
The actress' rep, Michael Chiaverini, also released a statement obtained by PEOPLE following the discovery of her body.
"We are deeply saddened by Lindsey Pearlman's passing today," the statement read. "The family has asked for privacy during this difficult time while they process and grieve."
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Lindsey's other notable television credits include roles in Selena: The Series on Netflix, The Ms. Pat Show on BET+, Sneaky Pete on Amazon Prime, American Housewife on ABC, and Vicious on Urbanflix.
Dynasty star Elaine Hendrix — who was among the celebrity friends involved in searching for Lindsey following her disappearance — “thanked everyone who shared Lindsey’s missing person report” via her Twitter account after learning about her death.
"I'm deeply saddened & stunned to share that she was found deceased," Hendrix wrote at the time. "Pls send her friends & family love. 💔."
Ghost star Danielle Pinnock also mourned the loss of Lindsey in a tweet by honoring the Chicago native and her journey to Hollywood. The 33-year-old star also shared she had talked to Lindsey two weeks prior to the tragedy.
“I met the most talented people ever in the Chi,” Pinnock wrote of the late actress describing Lindsey as “hilarious, goofy AF, stunning, and ridiculously gifted.”
"It feels surreal that she is gone," Pinnock added.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to
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