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Cilla's fatal final hours; She fell backwards & hit head; Star took tumble days earlier.

Byline: ADAM ASPINALL in Marbella

CILLA Black died after falling backwards on the sun terrace at her holiday home, knocking over a table before hitting her head on the wall, a postmortem has revealed.

The impact of the bump left the 72-year-old star unconscious and caused a rare form of stroke.

The report detailing the tragic circumstances that led to her death said she had been alone at the time of the accident, adding that she may have been saved if she had been found earlier.

Explaining what probably resulted in the TV legend's death, the postmortem said: "The most likely hypothesis is that being on the terrace, for some reason - loss of balance, stumble - she falls backwards, upturning the table she has near to her and hitting her head on the wall."

The report also revealed that Cilla, who suffered from arthritis and osteoporosis, frequently fell over and had done so at a friend's house in Britain just days before jetting out to Spain.

Cilla died at the villa near Marbella on Saturday between 12.30pm and 2.30pm, the report said. The time she spent unconscious in the baking heat may also have contributed to her death, the postmortem revealed.

It said Cilla lay undiscovered on her sun terrace for up to four hours. Her devoted son Robert, who was also her manager, is believed to have found her between 5.30pm and 6pm. He raised the alarm but it was too late.

Robert, 45, was in another part of the house when she lost her balance as she sunbathed in the 31C heat. He had no idea she had fallen after a siesta and was in desperate trouble. The blow to her head caused a bleed on the brain known as a focal sub-arachnoid haemorrhage.

The report said: "This doesn't normally cause sudden death but it can produce a loss of consciousness and depending on the state of health of the person and the context (place and way in which the trauma occurs, time it takes to be medically assisted, position people are found in etc) can cause death in a more or less defined period of time."

Spanish authorities took the unusual decision to release the report yesterday.

The 10-page postmortem concluded: "The most probable diagnosis of the cause of death, at this moment in time, pending lab results that have been requested, is: head injury, sub-arachnoid haemorrhage, as a result of a fall."

Cilla said last year she was "falling apart" due to her battle with arthritis.

The postmortem revealed that police found her lying next to a bottle of moisturising cream by several blood stains. Cilla had bruises on her right elbow, right forearm and back.

The report, summarising information from police in Estepona, said: "A son was the first person who found the body lying on the ground. He didn't move her but grabbed her hands to see if she had a pulse and said the little table on the terrace was overturned.

"He also indicated that he didn't remember blood on the floor of the terrace but did recall it on the dead woman's right arm and said that a few days earlier she suffered a fall at a female friend's house with a blow to her right elbow."

Revealing Cilla's body temperature was 39.9C at nearly 11pm on the day of her death, the report added: "The high temperature can suggest the existence of heatstroke. However the fact the body had remained exposed to the sun, including when it was covered with a sheet and towel, several hours after death, could explain such a high postmortem temperature. The diagnosis of solely heatstroke as the cause of death would therefore not be appropriate."

adam.aspinall@mirror.co.uk

TRAGEDY TIMELINE

SATURDAY, 12:30pm-2:30pm Cilla goes for a siesta in her room before collapsing outside on her sun terrace. She dies within this two-hour period.

5:30-6pm Unaware his mum had fallen Robert calls to check on her. He finds her lying dead on her back on the sun terrace.

6:10pm Paramedics arrive at the house and examine Cilla's body but could do nothing to revive her.

SUNDAY, 1:30am Cilla's body is taken to the forensics institute in Seville for the postmortem.

CAPTION(S):

SONS' GRIEF From left, Robert, Jack & Ben yesterday

DEVOTED Son Robert runs near villa yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2015
Words:730
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