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Health

Actor Charlbi Dean died at age 32 from bacterial sepsis — what are the warning signs?

Five months after she passed away, a New York City Medical Examiner has determined Charlbi Dean’s cause of death.

The South African actor (legal name Charlbi Dean Kriek) starred in “Triangle of Sadness,” which won the Palme d’Or — Cannes Film Festival’s highest award — earlier this year. She died unexpectedly in August in New York City at the age of 32.

Dean at the photo call for “Triangle Of Sadness” during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 22, 2022 in Cannes, France.Samir Hussein / Samir Hussein/WireImage

According to the medical examiner, Dean’s manner of death was an accident caused by bacterial sepsis complicating asplenia. Asplenia is defined as the absence of a spleen.

The examiner’s statement noted Dean’s asplenia occurred from “remote blunt trauma to her torso” and that infection caused her bacterial sepsis with Capnocytophaga.

Dean’s brother Alex Jacobs spoke to Rolling Stone after her death and said that her spleen was removed in 2009 after she was involved in a car accident. 

“They removed her spleen,” he explained. “It’s involved in fighting off infections, and that could have had something to do what happened. Her spleen not being there just added on to the reason whey she perhaps couldn’t fight it off.”

According to Jacobs, his sister’s death began with minor symptoms explaining, “This happened literally within the span of a day: getting a headache, going to sleep, waking up her boyfriend and saying, please take me to the hospital.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Capnocytophaga is bacteria that live inside the mouths of dogs and cats. Capnocytophaga germs can spread to humans via scratches, bites, and other close forms of contact with dogs or cats and can cause illnesses like sepsis. However, the medical examiner has not said if an animal caused Dean’s infections.

In his interview, Jacobs noted how the loss of his sister has shaken his family.

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