January 29, 2008 / 10:04 PM / 10 years ago

L.A. coroner probes Christian Brando's death

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles County coroner has opened an investigation into the death of Hollywood legend Marlon Brando’s eldest son, acting at the request of family members, a spokesman for the medical examiner said on Tuesday.

Defendant Christian Brando (L) is kissed by his father, actor Marlon Brando, after a judge accepted the elder Brando's home as bail for his son during a hearing in Santa Monica, California in this August 14, 1990 file photo. Brando has died, according to U.S. media reports on January 26, 2008. REUTERS/Pool/Files

Medical examiners took custody of Christian Brando’s body on Monday and performed an autopsy on Tuesday, but a finding on the cause of death will await toxicology tests that take six to eight weeks to complete, said Ed Winter, assistant chief of the coroner’s office.

Brando, the troubled son of the late Oscar-winning screen star and Welsh actress Anna Kashfi, died early on Saturday at age 49, following reports that he had been hospitalized with pneumonia.

Winter said relatives were “concerned about his prior history, both medical and drug history, but I’m not going to go any further into it until we have a chance to look at it and do our investigation.”

One of Christian Brando’s lawyers, Bruce Margolin, told Reuters over the weekend that his client died of complications from pneumonia. Brando’s ex-wife, Deborah, was quoted in a story on People magazine’s Web site as saying he had been comatose and on a respirator.

“His body was totally compromised,” she said. “He lived so hard ... This is just so sad.”

Brando served five years in prison for voluntary manslaughter in connection with the 1990 shooting death of the boyfriend of his half-sister Cheyenne, who committed suicide in 1995.

In 2005, he pleaded guilty to spousal abuse charges involving Deborah, who was then his wife, and was placed on probation.

Marlon Brando, considered one of the greatest actors of his generation, won Academy Awards for his acclaimed roles in “On the Waterfront” and “The Godfather.”

He died in 2004 at the age of 80.

Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Osterman

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