The death of “Kung Fu” actor David Carradine shook the whole of Hollywood in 2009.
According to New York-based medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden, who was hired by the family to do a private autopsy on the actor, the actor died of asphyxiation.
Baden, the host of HBO’s “Autopsy” series, ruled out suicide because of the way the actor’s body was bound. He didn’t rule out homicide or autoerotic asphyxiation, which many had speculated was the cause of death.
Autoerotic asphyxiation is a way people suffocate themselves for s3xual arousal.
Carradine was found on June 4 hanging in the closet of his Bangkok hotel room where he was said to be actively involved in the shooting of his latest film, “Stretch.”
“The cause of death was asphyxiation, an inability to breathe, now, why that happened is still what we’re working on,” Baden told Reuters today.
He also said the ligatures, or ropes, that bound Carradine’s body at the time of death ruled out suicide. The family had insisted the actor was happy working on ‘Stretch’ and would not have taken his own life.
“He didn’t die of natural causes, and he didn’t die of suicidal causes from the nature of the ligatures around the body, so that leaves some kind of accidental death,” Baden said.
Thai authorities had suggested the 72-year-old actor could have died from accidental autoerotic asphyxiation. In response to a question on that topic, Baden did not rule out that possibility, but he was careful to not say autoerotic asphyxiation was the cause.
Contradicting media reports saying Carradine’s hands were tied behind his back, Baden told Reuters the actor’s hands were above his head.
Nearby on a bed was what appears to be red women’s lingerie.
Transvestite fetishes and thrill-seeking can be an integral part of auto-erotic asphyxia, the deadly s3x play that Thai authorities said killed the 72-year-old former “Kung Fu” actor.
After the actor’s death, Keith Carradine called his brother’s death a “devastating loss” for his family and thanked fans for their “compassion.”
A grainy photo of his limp body in a Bangkok hotel room — in what appears to be fishnet and a wig — raised more questions about his mysterious death.
And while Thai authorities ruled the actor’s death as a s3x play accident — auto-erotic asphyxia gone wrong — some say the evidence just doesn’t add up.
“The thing that I am really questioning is, how was he bound, and how was he able to tie his own hands?” said Robert Dunlap, who interviewed hundreds of people who practice deviant s3x behaviors for his 2002 documentary film, “Beyond Vanilla: An Unforgettable Journey Into the Wilder Side of S3x.”
“This doesn’t look like a solo act at all,” he told Edujandon.com. “In order to have an orgasm, his hands would have had to be free. There is something very peculiar about this.”
“You don’t dress just for yourself,” he said of the photos that revealed women’s clothing. “Usually there is some sort of show and someone else is involved. It probably went horribly bad and they left.”
“If this act was for pleasure, I can tell from the ligature,” Baden told columnist Cindy Adams. “Some cloth would’ve hidden the rope mark around his neck so that it wouldn’t show next day.”
His third wife, Gail Jensen, told RadarOnline that he liked to tie himself up, had a fetish for Speedos, and often experimented with nearly drowning himself in the pool.
In another interview with TMZ, Jensen says that Carradine had hung himself up in the basement in a crucifix position, mimicking Jesus Christ, while a party was going on upstairs.
“David was pretty strange,” she said. “He would like to get tied up. He would tie himself up and I would walk in and see him and say, ‘Oh, my God, David, you got to be kidding me — and I would (turn around and) walk out. I would leave him to his own devices.”
Jensen, who was divorced from Carradine in 1997, added, “He liked to be tied up. And he could tie himself up … He spent days planning a different feature. He would go to a hardware store and buy the stuff.”
“It was never s3xual,” she said, noting that Carradine liked bondage but never choked himself.
Anderson, his fourth wife, told Edujandon.com that her claims in her 2003 divorce papers that he practiced “deviant” and “dangerous” s3x behavior, including incest, were true.
Carradine was married five times and has five daughters and two sons.
Even after the investigation of Carradine’s death is complete, it still may be difficult to determine if it was an accident, a suicide or even a murder.
“It’s hard to know their intention because we can’t ask them,” Kafka said.
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