Results of toxicological tests will likely not be known for weeks--and although police said they found no drugs in a search of Farley's condo, there is new speculation, fueled by a report from the Chicago Tribune, that drugs may have indeed contributed to his apparent fatal heart attack.
Two pieces of physical evidence--bloody fluid found trickling from Farley's nose, and a "white, frothy fluid" seeping from the actor's mouth--indicate that drugs may have been involved, a spokesman for the coroner's office in Cook County, Illinois, told the newspaper.
Foul play has been ruled out by police.
Even as the cause, or causes, of death remain the subject of debate, there is little doubt--by friends' admissions, by the boisterous performer's own admissions--that Chris Farley was a man out of control.
"I still have to work on my weight and some of my other demons," Farley told Playboy magazine last September.
These were tasks the size-54 Tommy Boy star apparently never mastered. At the time of his death, he weighed nearly 300 pounds. Food was a vice, but not the only one. Onscreen partner David Spade said Farley drank too much coffee, smoked too much. A former improv comedy colleague told the Associated Press the actor "loved to drink." In New York's Daily News, former SNL writer/performer A. Whitney Brown talks about turning Farley onto heroin.
Just last Sunday, the hefty star, who modeled his unfettered performances after John Belushi, another crash-and-burn-and-die-young SNL alumnus, was seen out and about in his adopted hometown of Chicago--looking grotesquely overweight and "messed up," in the words of one eyewitness quoted in today's New York Post.
"When he was here, he was kind of boozed up, and one of the staffers was joking about him 'doing a Belushi,' saying he'd better watch it," a bartender at the local Cheesecake Factory restaurant told the Post.
In that Playboy interview, Farley spoke of checking himself into a weight-loss clinic in California and losing 30 to 40 pounds--only to yo-yo back to old, bad habits by going on a dessert binge with buddy Tom Arnold.
An US magazine article also from this year may have said it all with the headline: "Chris Farley: On the Edge of Disaster."
"He's got a big career and great life ahead of him," Farley's manager Marc Gurvitz, told US. "But will he go the route of John Candy if he's not careful? Of course he will."
John Candy, a big-hearted actor who packed considerable heft, also died young--felled by a heart attack in 1994 at age 43.
Farley's last TV appearance came in October when he played guest host on SNL. He'll be seen on screen one final time next year in the upcoming Almost Heroes, a comedy costarring Matthew Perry.