Jerry Lewis‘s death was caused by heart failure, the Clark County Nevada Coroner tells PEOPLE.
Specifically, doctors attributed his death to “end stage cardiac disease due to peripheral vascular disease.”
The legendary comedian died on Sunday, according to his daughter and manager Danielle, who confirmed that “he passed peacefully at home of natural causes with his loving family at his side.”
Lewis has had a long history of illness. In June, he was hospitalized in Las Vegas after developing a urinary tract infection. In June 2006, Lewis suffered a mild heart attack in San Diego.
Prior to his heart attack, Lewis had faced other health problems, and in June 2012 was rushed to the hospital with low blood sugar only minutes before he was to present an award to Tom Cruise at a New York Friars Club event.
Going back to 1982, Lewis had open-heart surgery, and after that had battled prostate cancer, diabetes and viral meningitis. He also suffered from a debilitating depression triggered by a megadose of the steroid prednisone, prescribed to treat the lung ailment pulmonary fibrosis (a scarring of the lung tissue).
The steroid caused a notable change in his appearance. “I put on 56 lbs,” Lewis told PEOPLE in 2002. “Because of the swelling, you can’t bend over and tie your shoe. I needed to exercise, but I’d get up and walk 20 feet, and I needed oxygen.”
The weight gain also put additional strain on his spine, aggravating the chronic back pain he had been battling for decades. “It got so bad,” he told PEOPLE, “I went upstairs, and I was sitting in the master bedroom and thinking I know where the gun is and it would be over in a minute.” (That same day, he had a “pain pacemaker” permanently implanted in his spinal column to ease his suffering.)
The comedian’s death has drawn tributes from a multitude of celebrities, including his close friend Steve Lawrence, who told PEOPLE, “Jerry will be noted in the halls of show business because he was involved on every level, from television to records to motion pictures. He contributed as a director, as a writer, as a comedian and to arguably the best duo in comedy that every existed. I don’t think we’ll ever see the likes of Martin Lewis again.”
- Reporting by ALEXIA FERNANDEZ