Ray Liotta’s cause of death finally revealed, one year after ‘Goodfellas’ star died in his sleep

Fans the world over mourned the loss of Ray Liotta when the actor passed away in May last year.

Indeed, the suddenness of the Goodfellas star’s passing in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, came as quite the shock, prompting theories as to how he had died.

Fast forward to present and that question has finally been put to bed. As per new reports, officials in the Dominican Republic found heart and respiratory system issues to be the cause of Liotta’s death.

TMZ cite documents declaring that the actor’s death had been categorized as natural and nonviolent. Liotta’s demise is said to have been caused by respiratory insufficiency, pulmonary edema (fluid in his lungs) and acute heart failure.

The document also stated that Liotta was suffering from atherosclerosis – a condition caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of the arteries – which can often lead to health issues including diabetes.

The 67-year-old actor, whose career spanned some three decades, died in his sleep on May 22. Liotta was in the Domenican Republic to film Dangerous Waters.

Liotta, born December 18, 1954 in Newark, New Jersey, made his debut on the soap opera Another World, and had his breakthrough as a film actor in Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

He then landed one of his most notable roles, playing the ghost of baseball legend Shoeless Joe Jackson in the 1989 film Field of Dreams.

But it was his next film, Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed crime drama Goodfellas, that gave him his defining performance. Liotta portrayed real-life mobster Henry Hill, chronicling his rise and fall in the mafia over three decades.

The film, which also stars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, was a hit, nominated for six Academy Awards, and is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made.

“During the middle of it, I didn’t know how it was gonna turn out,” Liotta told the New York Post in 2020. “It was just a lot of fun playing make-believe with all these other people who loved to play make-believe.”

Liotta had made a major resurgence in recent years. He had a major role as a ruthless divorce lawyer in the film Marriage Story, which was nominated for Best Picture among other awards. He also appeared in No Sudden Move, and the Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark.

Rest in peace, Ray Liotta. Thank you for decades of iconic performances. You will be missed.

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