Director Tony Scott did not have inoperable brain cancer, despite initial reports a terminal diagnosis was what drove him to commit suicide from a bridge in Los Angeles, his family told authorities the day after his death.
Tony Scott, 68, perhaps best known for Top Gun, was said to have leaped to his death “without hesitation” in an effort to spare his family the pain of watching his slow death, ABC News reported. Hours later, ABC backed away from that report.
The Los Angeles Times confirmed that Tony Scott’s family told the corner’s office Scott did not have cancer – or any major illness.
“The family told us it is incorrect that he has inoperable brain cancer,” Craig Harvey, a chief at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office told the newspaper.
TMZ were the first to report that Tony Scott’s wife Donna told authorities her husband was healthy, according to unnamed sources.
Donna Scott told investigators that rumors of a return of her husband’s cancer was “absolutely false”, TMZ says.
The celebrity news site also claims the preliminary results of an autopsy did not reveal the presence of cancer – though more tests are needed.
The revelation, if proven true, begs the question – what could have driven the successful director, whose films have grossed more than $2 billion, to kill himself?
His older brother, Sir Ridley Scott, is flying from London to Los Angeles to be with Tony’s family.
Tony Scott’s tragic death comes just weeks after he was pictured looking pained as he left a Beverly Hills restaurant on July 23.
Tony Scott had been in hospital earlier this summer and told friends it was for a hip operation. But they knew he had previously kicked cancer and some believe it had come back.
“He has been suffering from cancer and he had a relapse,” a source told the New York Post.
“He wasn’t depressed, he was a lovely guy. On Sundays everyone went to his house, there would be the guy who worked in his local restaurant sitting by the pool by Michael Caine.”
Another source added: “He did have cancer, and for a while he was cancer free. He didn’t have any money problems or marriage problems.”
The beloved filmmaker, who directed movies including Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II and Enemy Of The State and was the younger brother of director Ridley Scott, fell within feet of a cruise boat around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday as horrified tourists watched.
“He landed right next to our tour boat, and many of us saw the whole thing,” a witness, who had been on the cruise around the Los Angeles Harbor, told TMZ.
According to the Contra Costa Times, Tony Scott climbed a fence on the south side of the bridge, which spans San Pedro and Terminal Island, at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday and leaped off “without hesitation”.
Several people called 911 around 12:35 p.m. to report that someone had jumped off the bridge, according to Los Angeles police Lt. Tim Nordquist. Police are interviewing witnesses.
A dive team with Los Angeles Port Police pulled the body from the murky water around 3:00 p.m. It was taken to a dock in Wilmington and turned over to the county coroner’s office.
Investigators found a note in Tony Scott’s black Toyota Prius, which was parked on the bridge, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The note listed names and contact numbers – including that of his wife – so police could call his friends to tell them of his death, TMZ reported.
A suicide note was later found at his office but, while it is said to have been much more detailed than the note in his car, its contents were not revealed.
Simon Halls, a publicist who represents the Scott brothers, confirmed the death.
“The family asks for privacy during this time,” Simon Halls said.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy is planned and results could be expected as early as this afternoon.
The sudden death shook Hollywood and film fans as the successful director apparently had everything to live for.
Tony Scott leaves behind twin sons and his wife Donna, a model and actress who had appeared in some of his films.
He was also in the early stages of developing a sequel to cult classic movie Top Gun with Tom Cruise and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. It was set for release in 2014, the L.A. Times reported.