Charlbi Dean died of bacterial sepsis in August, the New York City medical examiner confirmed to Fox News Digital. She was 32.

Dean’s death was ruled an accident. The medical examiner listed her cause of death as “bacterial (Capnocytophaga) sepsis complicating asplenia due to remote blunt force trauma of torso.”

Dean was reportedly involved in a car collision in 2009. In addition to the removal of her spleen, she suffered broken ribs and a broken back. 

Dean’s brother, Alex Jacobs, spoke to “Rolling Stone” a few days after her death and explained that Charlbi had experienced “minor” symptoms. She asked her fiancé, Luke Volker, to take her to the emergency room. She died a few hours later.


Charlbi Dean’s cause of death was confirmed by the New York medical examiner’s office.
(Stephane Cardinale)

At the time, it was revealed her death was due to a “sudden illness.”

“We still aren’t entirely sure [what happened],” Jacobs told the outlet. “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.”


He added that Dean was involved in a “very, very bad car accident” in 2009, after which doctors removed her spleen.

Charlbi Dean's cause of death was ruled an accident. She died at the age of 32.

Charlbi Dean’s cause of death was ruled an accident. She died at the age of 32.
(Lionel Hahn)

“[The spleen is] involved in fighting off infections, and that could have had something to do what happened,” Jacobs said. “Her spleen not being there just added on to the reason why she perhaps couldn’t fight it off.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Capnocytophaga bacteria “are normal bacteria commonly found in the mouths of people, dogs and cats.”

Caitlin Cossaboom, epidemic intelligence service officer with the CDC and trained veterinarian, previously told Fox News Digital that “severe infections due to Capnocytophaga are very rare,” but those with weakened immune systems, who have difficulty fighting off infections, are at greater risk of becoming ill.

It is unclear if an animal was responsible for Dean’s infection. Fox News Digital has reached out to Dean’s rep for comment. 


Charlbi Dean attended the screening of "Triangle Of Sadness" during the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival in May. 

Charlbi Dean attended the screening of “Triangle Of Sadness” during the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival in May. 
(Vittorio Zunino Celotto)

Dean’s last role was in the “Triangle of Sadness,” which earned the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

She starred alongside Woody Harrelson, Harris Dickinson, Carolina Gynning and Dolly De Leon in the comedy.

Prior to landing her hit role, Dean portrayed Syonide on the CW show “Black Lightning.” 


She’s credited with roles in “Blood in the Water,” “Don’t Sleep,” “An Interview with God” and “Porthole.”

The South African actress made her acting debut in the 2010 film “Spud” and worked on the “Illusive Fields” shortly before returning for the “Spud 2: The Madness Continues” sequel in 2013. 

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