Charlbi Dean's Cause of Death Confirmed by Coroner After Her Sudden Death at 32
Charlbi Dean's cause of death has been determined by a New York City Medical Examiner.
The Triangle of Sadness actress –– whose full name is Charlbi Dean Kriek –– died from an unexpected and sudden illness in August. She was 32.
At the time, the illness was not revealed.
A spokesperson for the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner confirmed to PEOPLE on Wednesday that she died of bacterial sepsis.
The sepsis "was a complication from asplenia (the absence of a spleen) due to "remote blunt trauma to her torso," the spokesperson tells PEOPLE.
The South African actress' death was ruled an accident.
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty
Her bacterial sepsis was caused after she was infected with a bacteria known as Capnocytophaga. While the infection is rare, there are different species of Capnocytophaga that develop in the mouths of humans and which are also present in the mouths of dogs and cats, according to the CDC. People with autoimmune issues and without spleens are particularly susceptible.
It is not clear if an animal bite or lick was responsible for the model's infections as the medical examiner has not made her full autopsy public.
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Lionel Hahn/Getty Charlbi Dean
RELATED: Charlbi Dean's Fiancé Luke Volker Speaks Out After Her Sudden Death at 32
Days after she died, Dean's brother Alex Jacobs told Rolling Stone that her sudden death in New York City on Monday happened after she began experiencing "minor" symptoms and soon asked her fiancé, Luke Volker, to take her to an emergency room. She died just hours later.
"This happened literally within the span of a day: getting a headache, going to sleep, waking up her boyfriend and saying please take me to the hospital," Jacobs told Rolling Stone.
"We still aren't entirely sure [what happened]," Jacobs added at the time. "There's an autopsy being done which we know might take quite a while. But what we have heard [that] there was a viral infection in her lungs."
Jacobs told Rolling Stone that Dean was involved in a "very, very bad car accident" around 2009, after which doctors removed her spleen. She also suffered broken ribs and a broken back in the accident, according to her brother.
"[The spleen is] involved in fighting off infections, and that could have had something to do with what happened," Jacobs said. "Her spleen not being there just added on to the reason why she perhaps couldn't fight it off."
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Volker also mourned the death of his fiancé on Instagram in a brief video to show appreciation for the messages he received after the news.
"Hi, everyone. I wanted to just post a picture of Charlbi, but it's a bit hard," began Volker, 26. "And just wanted to let you know I see all your messages, all the love, and I appreciate it. I really do. It's just I can't really reply to them right now. But thank you, guys. I appreciate it. I love you."
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Triangle of Sadness writer/director Ruben Östlund grieved Dean in an Instagram post as well, saying it was "an honor to have gotten to know and work with her" before the "tragedy."
He added, "Charlbi had a care and sensitivity that lifted her colleagues and the entire film crew. The thought that she will not be by our side in the future makes me very sad. At this difficult time, my thoughts go out to her loved ones, her family and her fiancé Luke."