Actress Charlbi Dean’s Cause of Death Revealed

Charlbi Dean's cause of death has been determined four months after her passing. The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner ruled that the South African actress died of bacterial sepsis,...

Actress Charlbi Dean’s Cause of Death Revealed

The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner ruled that the South African actress died of bacterial sepsis, which was brought on from "a complication from asplenia" (the absence of a spleen) due to "remote blunt trauma to her torso," per People.

A spokesperson for the coroner's office told the outlet on Dec. 21 that sepsis was caused after Dean was infected with a bacteria known as Capnocytophaga. According to the CDC, Capnocytophaga is spread to people through bites, scratches, licks or other close contact with animals such as dogs and cats. People with autoimmune issues and without spleens are particularly susceptible to these infections. 

The Black Lightning star's death was ruled an accident, though it is unclear if an animal bite or lick was responsible for her infection. The medical examiner has not made her full autopsy public.

Dean died on Aug. 29 in New York City at the age of 32. At the time, a rep for the actress confirmed to NBC News that she passed away from "an unexpected sudden illness," but no other details were provided.

Her brother Alex Jacobs, previously told Rolling Stone that Dean was involved in a "very, very bad car accident" around 2009, after which doctors removed her spleen. He also noted that his sister suffered broken ribs and a broken back in the accident

"[The spleen is] involved in fighting off infections, and that could have had something to do with what happened," Jacobs said on Aug. 31. "Her spleen not being there just added on to the reason why she perhaps couldn't fight it off."

Jacobs also detailed his sister's last day alive, explaining that Dean began experienced "minor" symptoms before asking her fiancé, Luke Volker, to take her to an emergency room. She died just a few hours later.

Her brother told the outlet, "This happened literally within the span of a day: getting a headache, going to sleep, waking up her boyfriend and saying please take me to the hospital."