Evan Ellingson’s cause of death has been ruled an accident.
The former child star, best known for his role in the 2009 film My Sister’s Keeper, was found dead earlier this month at the sober living home where he resided in San Bernardino County, California, his father told TMZ at the time. Ellingson was 35.
A spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department told People magazine that the cause of death was determined to be an accidental fentanyl overdose.
Ellingson’s family released a statement on his death on 6 November.
“Our family is heartbroken by the sudden passing of our beloved son, brother, uncle and friend, Evan,” they said. “Evan was one of the most caring individuals who loved Jesus with all his heart. He had a sweet, child-like spirit with a smile that could light up a room. He was always thinking of others and wanted to use his own struggles with addiction to help people find hope.”
In My Sister’s Keeper, adapted from the Jodi Picoult novel of the same name, Ellingson played Jesse, the eldest of three siblings vying for the attention of his parents (Jason Patric and Cameron Diaz) who were preoccupied with his sisters – one of whom had leukaemia (Sofia Vassilieva), and the other who provided the stem cells to help her (Abigail Breslin).
Breslin paid tribute to her late co-star on Instagram, remembering him as “a kind, funny and extremely talented human being”.
Outside of the big screen, Ellingson had a recurring role on CSI: Miami as Kyle Harmon, the son of David Caruso’s Lt. Horatio Caine, appearing in 18 episodes over three years.
He also starred in 24 as Josh, the nephew of the protagonist, Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland).
At the time of his passing, Ellingson had not appeared on screen in more than a decade.
His first professional role came when he was 12 years old in a TV movie called Living in Fear.
While promoting CSI: Miami back in 2009, Ellingson spoke about how his passion for acting had impacted his childhood, compared to his friends of the same age.
He told The Philippine Star: “I never had the same [childhood] experience with my friends. I never had more time with them. However, my childhood was a cool one. I was busy doing the things I love.”
He added: “I had no regrets because I found my passion for acting early on.”