Tony Scott Autopsy Scheduled as Reports Conflict Over Brain Cancer

Tony Scott Portrait - P 2012
Daniela Scaramuzza

Tony Scott Portrait - P 2012

UPDATED: Conflicting reports about a potential illness could become clearer after a postmortem examination; the British film director was said to have suffered from health problems when he jumped from an L.A. bridge.

THIRD UPDATE: People on Monday night quoted L.A. County chief coroner investigator Craig Harvey as saying that Tony Scott's family disputed the earlier ABC News report that he had inoperable brain cancer. "According to family spokespersons, the information concerning brain cancer or an inoperable brain tumor in Mr. Scott is incorrect," he said.

SECOND UPDATE: ABC News on Monday night reported, in a story with the headline "Tony Scott Brain Cancer Report Appears in Doubt," that the British film director's family was unaware he had cancer, according to L.A. County assistant chief coronor Ed Winter. The coronor's office declined The Hollywood Reporter's request for comment.

UPDATE: TMZ, citing an unnamed source, reported that Scott did not have brain cancer, calling reports that suggest such health problems "absolutely false."

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office is declining to confirm a report that Scott had inoperable brain cancer when he committed suicide by jumping off an L.A.-area bridge, though a determination on the matter could be made following an autopsy scheduled for Monday. 

PHOTOS: Notable Deaths of 2012

Winter tells THR that while his office has not determined the final cause of death, the case is being treated in the matter by which it was a reported by investigators: "a witnessed suicide." Witnesses have told Los Angeles Police Department investigators that the 68-year-old Scott leaped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro midday Sunday.

"But we don’t know and haven't done the toxicology or any of the organ studies, or [know] even if he maybe did have some cancer of the brain," says Winter. He adds that the results of the autopsy would eventually be made public, though he did not know when such information would be released. 

STORY: 'Top Gun' Director Tony Scott Jumps to His Death From Bridge

ABC News reported early Monday that Scott, the director of Top Gun, Crimson Tide and Man on Fire, suffered from inoperable brain cancer. The story cited a source close to Scott. His publicist, Simon Halls, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the report.

The Englishman was seven years younger than brother Ridley Scott, his partner in Scott Free Productions; the Scott brothers produced this year's Prometheus, which was directed by Ridley and has so far grossed $330 million worldwide.

The Los Angeles Times has reported that contact information found inside Scott's Toyota Prius, which was parked on the bridge, led authorities to a suicide note in his office. The 1,500-foot-long bridge connects San Pedro and Terminal Island; the bridge's roadway stands 185 feet above Los Angeles Harbor. 

Authorities first learned of the incident around 12:30 p.m. Sunday when a 911 caller phoned to say a man had jumped off the suspension bridge. The search for Scott's body involved officers with the port police, the LAPD and the California Highway Patrol, as well as the Coast Guard and city firefighters, according to the Daily Breeze, which first reported Scott's death. Authorities reportedly had to use sonar equipment because the water in the area is murky. 

An official with the LAPD referred all questions to the coroner's office. 

Along with his brother, Scott is survived by wife Donna Wilson Scott and their twin sons.


Twitter: @DanielNMiller