Coroner Rules ‘American Splendor’ Writer Harvey Pekar Died from an Accidental Prescription Drug Overdose
It was confirmed this week that Harvey Pekar, writer of the long-running and critically beloved American Splendor series of autobiographical comic books, passed away this summer as the result of an accidental prescription drug overdose. Pekar, who was 70 at the time of his death, was found by his wife Joyce Brabner in their home in Cleveland, Ohio back in July.The Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office determined that an improper combination of fluoxetine and bupropion, better known as Prozac and Wellbutrin, respectively, was responsible for Pekar's death. Both medicines are prescribed to treat depression, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that "the latter drug can lower a person's seizure threshold when used incorrectly."
As depicted in the 2003 film also called American Splendor, Pekar's work dealt explicitly with his profound depression and feelings of isolation. His condition was compounded by high blood pressure, asthma, and both prostate and lymphatic cancer. As such, it was feared by many that Pekar's death was a suicide, but Coroner Frank Miller has determined that the writer died from natural causes. Coroner spokesperson Powell Caesar said it conclusively, "Pekar did not take his own life."