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Casey Johnson died of diabetes-related condition, L.A. County coroner says

Johnson Heiress Casey Johnson died of diabetic-related complications, the L.A. County coroner's office said Thursday.

The 30-year-old heiress to the Johnson & Johnson empire and daughter of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson died Jan. 4 at her Westside home.

Coroner's officials determined her "natural death" to be a result of diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication of diabetes that occurs when the body cannot use glucose because it has inadequate insulin and fat is used instead. As the fat is broken down, acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine to poisonous levels. 

A preliminary investigation by police homicide investigators had found nothing to suggest that Johnson died of anything other than natural causes.

And sources with the Los Angeles Police Department had said they believed the cause was "medically related."

The personal life of Johnson, the girlfriend of reality TV star Tila Tequila, has long been a staple for celebrity gossip sites and tabloids including Page Six, which dubbed her the "baby-oil heiress."

Johnson, whose given name was Sale Trotter Case Johnson, was diagnosed with diabetes as a child.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Casey Johnson arrives at the August 2008 grand opening of Apple Lounge in West Hollywood. Credit: Dan Steinberg / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (20)

No disrespect but was this diabetic condition exacerbated by her herione/coke addiction? Let's get real here, C. Johnson had her problems and they probably contributed to her death.

Johnson didn't take the insulin her body needed. She died. in my opinion, "natural causes" in this case appears to be suicide by inaction. Frankly, I find the apparent spin of the piece misleading to young type 1 diabetics in the world, offensive to people out there with loved ones who have Type 1 and a disservice to a general public that, if properly informed, might understand the needs of Type 1 persons with greater certainty.

It sounds like she was not taking her insulin. How ironic that she died from something that is easily treated with a drug.

Yes, how sad, she was so self destructive. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure can buy insulin... Too bad... So young and so alone... Tsk, tsk, tsk...

It is kind of sad for overloaded world with aids
Many of those do not have insurance
Insurance companies cannot absolve so many catastrophic and prolonging rising burdens of certain diseases such as ebola, aids, and etc

apparently none of the other people commenting are aware that a serious complication of type 1 diabetes is diabulimia--this is not a "debutante" illness, but a serious, legitimate psychiatric problem in which people restrict insulin intake in order to control their weight. if no insulin is taken for long enough, your body cannot keep up with the ketones that accumulate in your blood, and this can cause comas and death resulting from extremely high blood sugar. none of these complications, however, would have been exacerbated by drug use, as one reader commented. no insulin is no insulin, and this is a serious cause of death.
readers should educate themselves about the disease before making judgments.

Possibly if she tried vegetarianism and got off hard drugs her health would have improved. America, including the beautiful people, are lost.

Regardless she was a person. She was someone daughter, mother who died of this terrible disease. Who care who she was with, she was a victim of this disease. I am a mother of a child with diabetes and it’s not as easy has it may seem. She my rest now in heaven with no more pain of needles Peace be with you and let’s help find a cure!!!

I feel for her family and friends who loved her. This is to familiar since my spouse suffers from Type 1 and Diabulimia. She is constantly ill and suffers from nausea and vomiting which require trips to the ER, over 20 in the last 4 years. Each time I think I will lose her, and I am sure she thinks she wont die from being low on insulin. I wonder if they feel they are taking it to the edge, or just an escape. I dont think that this young woman wanted to die.

thank you hockeytalk and olive, it isn't an easy disease where you just take a shot and should be fine. it can't be cured with vegetarianism, won't go away with exercise, etc. it's there in some form no matter what.

i hope your spouse is able to find some comfort and help with her struggle.

for those thinking she was spoiled, or just didn't care, please try to think about how miserable and unhappy she must have been, for whatever reason, to restrict her insulin so severely, and about how horrible physically she must have felt for months. it's not a case of her just not caring, it's a very conscious decision to be so self-destructive.

All that money wasted................

Is her given name a family name? Different.
Not to change the subject.
Very sad, diabetes is more serious than some realize.

As an individual who suffers from Type 1 Diabetes I can assure everyone that this is not a disease that is "easily treated with a drug." It involves constant monitoring, doctor visits, and sometimes unpredictable highs and lows. I work very hard to keep the disease under control and I still have been hospitalized and had several emergency situations that could have resulted in my death as well as bouts of depression caused by knowing I will never really be healthy in my life. This is a sad situation and I think some people may be over simplifying it by making the disease appear to be less severe than it actually is.

Hey A, Really. Are You assuming that is the case here? As family member of a Diabetic with a coke/meth addiction, I can tell you diabetic ketoacidosis,can happen as result of addiction. They get high don't take insulin, don't care, Or just don't manage their diabetes. Regardless, there is somthing missing here. "Natural Death" seems odd. You would naturaly die if you stopped eating too.

Ketones aren't acids. Is there a science writer left at the Times that could help with paragraph 3?

DKA induced by multi-drug OD more likely.

okay, nice to know, next?

As a Type 1 diabetic, this story makes me sad. It makes me wonder if this young beautiful girl took care of herself and if her parents understood the full scope of care and education needed to help her with living with such a chronic disease. Living with diabetes is an everyday battle, one that can be quite difficult without support, as with any chronic illness. My heart goes out to my fellow diabetics and their families. I appeal to the Johnson family to make a contribution, in the memory of their daughter, to help find a cure so that hopefully someday no one will succumb to diabetes and make it a thing of the past.

No, Lori. It doesn't work that way. If anyone needs to get real, it's you. My husband has the same condition, and just for the record, he's no user of coke or heroin. He won't even drink. By the way, the spelling is heroin, not whatever you wrote. I' m sorry but I found your comment to be incredibly disrespectful and snarky, and people who look under every rock for any scandalous detail in a faultless death make me angry. I'd be furious if people looked for any trace of scandal when and if my husband dies from a condition he certainly did not ask to have.I hope people don't speak ill of you after you die one day. I'm guessing they just may, if you really are this nasty.

Diabetes is not "easily treated with a drug." It requires constant management and very careful food choices. It doesn't just go away with an insulin shot, folks. I wish for my husband's sake that it did work that way.


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