Garry Shandling. Photo via Wikimedia Commons by Alan Light.
Garry Shandling. Photo via Wikimedia Commons by Alan Light.

Garry Shandling failed to seek immediate medical help when he had leg pains and trouble breathing, and the Los Angeles County coroner reported Tuesday the comedian/actor died from a blood clot in his leg that traveled into his lungs.

The official cause of death was listed as “pulmonary thrombosis,” and the death certificate also states that the 66-year-old Shandling had a surgical procedure called “inferior vena cava filter” before he died.

TMZ first reported the news.

According to the report, Shandling had previously complained of leg pain and shortness of breath on March 23 and was told by a friend to go to the doctor. Shandling told his friend he would go the next day. At 10:40 a.m. on March 24, he called 911 because he could not breath and collapsed while on the phone. Paramedics rushed him to St. Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, where he was pronounced dead at 11:37 a.m.

An investigation was launched into Shandling’s death after his doctor refused to sign his death certificate.

“By the law, the coroner has to inquire into the death, when a doctor does not sign the death certificate,” coroner’s Lt. Dave Smith told City News Service Smith at the time. “Apparently, he (Shandling) wasn’t actually (regularly) going to a doctor’s office.”

A Chicago native, Shandling became a favorite of Johnny Carson with his appearance on “The Tonight Show,” so much so that he had repeated stints as guest host in Carson’s absence.

He gained cult fame with his off-beat Showtime comedy “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” which debuted in the mid-80s and ran for 72 episodes. The show became a hit thanks to the combination of Shandling’s deadpan wit and its tendency for characters to talk to the audience.

At the end of the show’s run, Shandling created “The Larry Sanders Show,” a behind-the-scenes take on a fictional talk show. The HBO show ran from 1992-98 and is credited with ushering in an era of experimental television comedy and influencing a generation of comedy stars including Judd Apatow, Conan O’Brien, Ricky Gervais and many others.

Shandling also wrote and starred in the 2000 film “What Planet Are You From?” He most recently appeared on screen in 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” His other credits include “Iron Man 2,” “Zoolander” and “Trust the Man.”

—City News Service

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