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Harvey Pekar died from an accidental medication overdose, coroner finds

by  in Comic News Comment

Legendary comics writer Harvey Pekar died on July 12 as a result of an accidental overdose of antidepressants, a coroner has determined.

Pekar, 70, was found dead by his wife Joyce Brabner in their Cleveland Heights, Ohio, home. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller ruled his death by natural causes. “He did not take his own life,” said a spokesman for the coroner’s office. “His death came as a result of accidental ingestion of fluoxetine and bupropion.”

Fluoxetine, often marketed as Prozac, is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic attacks. Bupropion, also known as Wellbutrin or Zyban, is prescribed for depression and smoking cessation; it poses a risk of seizure when taken incorrectly.

Pekar, best known for his American Splendor series of autobiographical comics that inspired the acclaimed 2003 film of the same name, had been suffering from prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and depression. He was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1990, which inspired him to collaborate with Brabner and Frank Stack on Our Cancer Year.