Donda West, Kanye West’s mother, died of heart disease and “multiple postoperative factors” after plastic surgery, a deputy medical examiner said Thursday. But a coroner’s report said the exact contribution these factors could have played in West’s death following breast reduction, tummy tuck and liposuction couldn’t be determined.
The investigation found “therapeutic levels of medication” but no unusually high levels and no internal bleeding.”
West, 58, died Nov. 10 at a Los Angeles-area hospital, a day after her surgery.
“It is my opinion Ms. West died from some pre-existing coronary artery disease and multiple postoperative factors,” Dr. Louis A. Pena, a deputy medical examiner, stated in the lengthy autopsy report.
“Based on the history and available information, as currently known, the manner of death could not be determined,” Pena said.
A representative for Kanye West declined to comment.
Asked if Donda West would still be alive if she hadn’t undergone the surgery, Los Angeles County coroner’s official Ed Winter said: “She could, possibly. But she could have also died because of pre-existing cardiac issues.”
The coroner’s office had said early indications suggested West died from surgical complications.
West was found unresponsive at her home a day after her surgery. In emergency 911 tapes released earlier this month, two unidentified women told a dispatcher that West suffered a heart attack and unsuccessfully tried to revive her.
Dr. Jan Adams, who operated on West, has denied any wrongdoing. Adams has repeatedly suggested other causes of death including heart attack, pulmonary embolism, or accidental overdose of painkillers prescribed after the surgery.
Adams’ spokesman, Kevin Williams, didn’t immediately respond to phone or e-mail requests for comment.
The state medical board is investigating whether Adams’ license should be revoked or suspended after two alcohol-related arrests in the past four years.
Five months before her death, West had approached plastic surgeon Dr. Andre Aboolian of Beverly Hills, who was concerned about a pre-existing condition that may cause a heart attack during surgery. Aboolian didn’t operate on her.
West was the inspiration for the song “Hey Mama” on her rapper-son’s 2005 album, “Late Registration.”
She left academia in 2004 to manage her son’s career. She was chief executive of West Brands LLC and chairwoman of the Kanye West Foundation. In May, she published a memoir titled, “Raising Kanye: Life Lessons From the Mother of a Hip-Hop Star.”