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'Empire' actress Lindsey Pearlman’s cause of death revealed 6 months after her body was found

The 43-year-old actor went missing after she was last seen in February at her home before her body was located five days later inside of a vehicle.
/ Source: TODAY

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit for additional resources.

"Empire" actress Lindsey Pearlman's cause of death was revealed six months after she was found dead in Los Angeles.

Pearlman died by suicide caused by sodium nitrate toxicity on Feb. 18, according to records from the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner obtained by NBC News.

Pearlman, 43, went missing after she was last seen at her home in East Hollywood on Feb. 13, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Lindsey Pearlman appeared on shows like "Empire" and "General Hospital."
Lindsey Pearlman appeared on shows like "Empire" and "General Hospital." Janna Giacoppo / Courtesy of BRS/Gage Talent Agency

The LAPD issued a missing person report five days later, and her body was found on Feb. 18 inside of a vehicle near Runyon Canyon Park in Hollywood. The coroner's office did not release any details on her cause of death at the time.

The actor’s representative, Michael Chiaverini, released a statement to TODAY after her body was found.

“We are deeply saddened by Lindsey Pearlman’s passing today,” Chiaverini said. “The family has asked for privacy during this difficult time while they process and grieve.”

Savannah Pearlman, Lindsey's cousin, shared the missing person report at the time, and said she was asked by Lindsey's sister to share the number for the National Suicide Hotline.

"I’m deeply sad to report that they have found Lindsey, and it was too late," she wrote. "I have no other information about the location or circumstance."

"Lindsey was a fierce animal advocate and a talented actress," her cousin continued. She added donations could be made in Pearlman's name to Santé D'Or, a pet rescue and adoption center in Los Angeles.

Pearlman's husband, Vance Smith, also shared updates on the search, and wrote in an Instagram post at the time, "The police found Lindsey. She’s gone… I’m broken."

A woman with dark brown hair and bangs looks at a cadaver in a white lab coat that says medical examiner. She's wearing blue medical rubber gloves.
Lindsey Pearlman as Joy Fletcher on an episode of "Chicago Justice." Behind her is Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson.Parrish Lewis / NBCUniversal

Originally from Chicago, Pearlman appeared on shows including "Empire," "General Hospital," "Chicago Justice" and the "Purge" TV series.