Coroner says filmmaker's family ruled out cancer in his suicide

Reuters News

8/20/2012 12:25:07 AM - Reuters News

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The family of "Top Gun" director Tony Scott told medical examiners the British-born filmmaker did not have brain cancer or any serious illness when he jumped to his death from a suspension bridge, a Los Angeles County Coroner Department official said on Tuesday.

Craig Harvey, operations chief for the coroner, also said Monday's autopsy revealed Scott, 68, had no obvious signs of a brain tumor. More lab tests are needed to rule out any microscopic traces of cancer that would have been too minute for a physician to detect while Scott was alive.

"The family told us it is incorrect that he had inoperable brain cancer," Harvey said, adding that "they advised us ... he had no serious medical issues."

The disclosures added to the mystery surrounding Scott's suicide and contradicted an earlier unconfirmed ABC News report, attributed by the network to an unidentified source close to Scott, that he had inoperable brain cancer.

Scott, whose directorial work included "Beverly Hills Cop II," "The Hunger," "Days of Thunder" and "Crimson Tide," parked his car in the middle of a suspension bridge over Los Angeles Harbor on Sunday afternoon, climbed an 18-foot-tall fence and jumped nearly 200 feet to the water below.

His body was recovered about three hours later. Coroner's officials said a suicide note was found in his office and a list of people to contact was found in his car. Authorities have not disclosed the contents of the note.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter has said investigators lacked any theories about what led Scott, one of the most prolific and successful directors in Hollywood, to kill himself.

He was reported to be involved in developing several film projects, including a sequel to his biggest hit, the 1986 fighter-jet adventure "Top Gun," which turned Tom Cruise into a major star and helped launch Scott's directing career.

(Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman)