April 13, 2008 / 12:59 AM / 10 years ago

Son of Marlon Brando died of pneumonia: coroner

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has determined that pneumonia was the cause of death for Christian Brando, son of Hollywood star Marlon Brando, a spokesman for the agency said on Friday.

Defendant Christian Brando, son of late actor Marlon Brando, is shown after being sentenced to ten years in prison for the murder of his sister's boyfriend Dag Drollet in Santa Monica, California in this February 28, 1991 file photo. The Los Angeles County Coroner's office has found that pneumonia was the cause of death for Brando, son of Hollywood legend Marlon Brando, a spokesman for the agency said on April 11, 2008. REUTERS/Pool/Files

Brando, eldest son of the Oscar-winning actor, died at a Los Angeles hospital in January at the age of 49 and medical examiners investigated the death at his family’s request. An autopsy was conducted at the time but results were held pending return of toxicology tests.

“He died of pneumonia,” Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, told Reuters.

Winter said there were no drugs or medication of consequence found in Brando’s system and that he was not aware of any other contributing factors.

Brando, son of Marlon Brando and Welsh actress Anna Kashfi, had been hospitalized at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center for about two weeks before his death. His ex-wife, Deborah, told People magazine he had been comatose and on a respirator.

Brando made international headlines when he fatally shot Dag Drollet, 26, on May 16, 1990, after his sister Cheyenne told him that Drollet, her boyfriend, had been beating her.

His arrest and the subsequent legal proceedings fueled Marlon Brando’s tearful plea for leniency on his son’s behalf in a California courtroom. Christian Brando pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and spent nearly five years in prison.

Christian Brando also figured in the murder trial of actor Robert Blake, who was acquitted in the May 4, 2001, shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.

He had briefly dated Bakley, and the defense suggested he could have been the killer. He was never arrested or charged in the case and police cleared him of involvement.

Marlon Brando, considered one of the greatest actors of his generation, won Academy Awards for roles in “On the Waterfront” and “The Godfather.” He died in 2004 at the age of 80.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Bill Trott

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