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Coroner releases director Tony Scott’s cause of death

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By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) — Tony Scott, the British film director behind films such as “Top Gun” and “Beverly Hills Cop II,” had an anti-depressant and a sleep aid in his system when he jumped to his death this summer, the Los Angeles County coroner’s department announced Monday.

Scott died August 19 after jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, into the Pacific Ocean, and an autopsy was conducted the next day. The county coroner’s department determined the final cause of his death as “multiple blunt force injuries,” with drowning another “significant” factor.

Toxicology tests, meanwhile, indicated that Scott had a therapeutic level of mirtazapine (Remeron), which is an anti-depressant, and zopiclone (Lunesta), a sleep aid

His death initially led to reports that the director suffered from inoperable brain cancer, but his family disputed he was ailing.

The 68-year-old wrote two notes before his death, including a message left in his Los Angeles office for family members, a coroner official said.

A second note detailing contact information was found in his Toyota Prius parked nearby, but the notes did not provide a motive for why he took the suicidal plunge, authorities said. Nor did they mention any health issues, Deputy Chief Coroner Ed Winter said.

Born Anthony D.L. Scott in North Shields, England, in 1944, the director got his start as a teenager in front of the camera, starring in his older brother Ridley Scott’s film “Boy and Bicycle.” In 1995, the two joined forces to create the production company Scott Free Productions.

Tony Scott became a household name in 1986 as director of the megahit “Top Gun,” starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis, which he followed up the next year with the Eddie Murphy action movie “Beverly Hills Cop II.”

He cemented his reputation for big-budget action films with 1990′s “Revenge” starring Kevin Costner and “Days of Thunder” with Tom Cruise. In 1998, he directed “Enemy of the State” with actors Will Smith and Gene Hackman.

Despite the theatrics found in many of his films, he was known around Hollywood for his low-key demeanor.

“He wasn’t a showy kind of guy,” longtime entertainment reporter Jeanne Wolf said.

His unexplained death shocked stars who worked with him on a long list of successful movies over the past three decades. Denzel Washington, who starred in several Scott-directed thrillers, including 2010′s “Unstoppable,” said it was “unfathomable to think that he is now gone.”

“He had a tremendous passion for life and for the art of filmmaking and was able to share this passion with all of us through his cinematic brilliance,” Washington said.

While Scott’s movies garnered box office success, they never received the acclaim that generated Academy Award nominations.

In 2002, Tony and Ridley Scott won an Emmy for the television movie “The Gathering Storm.” He also was nominated for the Emmy as a producer for the CBS drama “The Good Wife.”

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