Rick James Funeral Set, Autopsy Inconclusive

A public viewing for funk legend Rick James will be held tomorrow (Aug. 11) from 5 to 8 p.m. PT at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. PT Thursday.

A public viewing for funk legend Rick James will be held tomorrow (Aug. 11) from 5 to 8 p.m. PT at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. PT Thursday. As previously reported, James was found dead at his Los Angeles home on Friday at the age of 56.

An autopsy performed over the weekend failed to establish the cause of his death. The autopsy found no sign of foul play but "no obvious sign" of what caused the 56-year-old funk music pioneer's death, Los Angeles Country coroner's spokesman David Campbell said.

Toxicology tests, expected within 10 weeks, could provide a clearer picture, he said. James suffered from diabetes and had a pacemaker. He had been in fragile health since suffering a stroke in 1998 after bursting a blood vessel at a concert in Denver.

Despite his family's belief that the self-proclaimed "icon of drug use and eroticism" died of natural causes, coroner's officials removed James' body from the mortuary because a doctor did not sign his death certificate, Campbell said.

"It was originally thought that the attending physician would sign the death certificate [but] he couldn't because he had not attended Mr. James recently," Campbell said.

James became hooked on crack cocaine and in 1993 was sentenced to five years in prison for assault and imprisonment for two separate incidents in which he and his then-21-year-old girlfriend beat and held two women captive.


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