George Hickenlooper cause of death: Mixed drug use/sleep apnea combo took director's life

The death of director George Hickenlooper, governor-elect John Hickenlooper's cousin, on the eve of the Starz Denver Film Festival premiere of his new movie, Casino Jack, was an accident caused by mixed prescription drug use and alcohol complicated by sleep apnea, according to Denver's medical examiner.

Here's the coroner's office release:

The cause of death is mixed drug (ethanol and oxymorphone) intoxication. These substances had central nervous system and respiratory depressant effects. Autopsy revealed a moderately enlarged heart (460 grams). The decedent had a history of probable sleep apnea. Cardiomegaly and probable sleep apnea are significant contributing factors to death. The manner of death is accident.

This year's film festival was dedicated to George Hickenlooper's memory. Casino Jack, starring Kevin Spacey, is expected to open at theaters on December 17. Here's the trailer:

More from our Television & Film archive: "George Hickenlooper: Despite his death, series about cousin John Hickenlooper moves forward."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts