Patton Oswalt Reveals His Wife Died From an Undiagnosed Heart Condition and Mix of Prescription Medications

Patton Oswalt revealed on Friday, February 3, that his wife, Michelle McNamara, died from a mix of prescription medications and an undiagnosed heart condition. The news comes almost one year after McNamara passed away in her sleep at the age of 46 on April 21, 2016. 

“We learned today the combination of drugs in Michelle’s system, along with a condition we were unaware of, proved lethal,” the actor and comedian wrote in a statement to the Associated Press, explaining that “blockages, combined with her taking the medications Adderall, Xanax and the pain medication fentanyl,” were responsible for her death. 

Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara arrive at the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium on January 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara arrive at the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards held at the Hollywood Palladium on Jan. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles. Lester Cohen/WireImage

The Los Angeles coroner's Lieutenant David Smith told the AP that McNamara's cause of death remains listed as pending.

As previously reported, Oswalt shared that he feared his wife, a writer who founded the website True Crime Diary, may have overdosed.

“I have a feeling it might have been an overdose,” the 48-year-old actor told The New York Times in October 2016. “That’s what the paramedics there were saying while I was screaming and throwing up.” According to Oswalt, McNamara had been stressed about a book she was writing and took Xanax to sleep the night she died.

Oswalt is now a single dad raising their 7-year-old daughter, Alice.

“Five months and 10 days ago, as I write this, I became a single father,” the actor wrote in an essay for GQ this past December. “I was half of an amazing parenting team, except we weren’t equals. Michelle was the point person, researcher, planner, and expediter. I was the grunt, office assistant, instruction follower, and urban Sherpa. … I’ve missed forms for school. I’ve forgotten to stock the fridge with food she likes. I’ve run out of socks for her. I’ve run out of socks for me,” he wrote. “It sucked and it was a hassle every time, but the world kept turning. I said, ‘Whoops, my bad,’ and fixed it and kept stumbling forward.”

The comedian ended his piece for the magazine telling other single dads to keep "moving forward — clumsily, stupidly, blindly,” and reminding them "none of this is for you.” 

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