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Charlbi Dean’s cause of death linked to a decade-old surgery

South African actor and model Charlbi Dean died in August of bacterial sepsis, the New York City medical examiner confirmed to The Times Wednesday.

The actor, known for Cannes Film Festival winner “Triangle of Sadness,” died Aug. 29 at a hospital in New York. She was 32.

The medical examiner said the infection followed exposure to the bacteria Capnocytophaga and was exacerbated by “asplenia,” or absence of a spleen. The actor had the organ removed “due to remote blunt force trauma of torso,” a medical examiner spokesperson added.

The actor’s death was ruled an accident.

Alex Jacobs, Dean’s brother, told Rolling Stone that the actor, also known for the CW show “Black Lightning,” was in a “very, very bad car accident” more than a decade ago. As a result, she had her spleen removed. People without spleens are more susceptible to severe bacterial infections.

“They removed her spleen. It’s involved in fighting off infections, and that could have had something to do [with] what happened,” Jacobs told Rolling Stone following his sister’s death. “Her spleen not being there just added on to the reason why she perhaps couldn’t fight it off.”

In addition to “Triangle of Sadness” and “Black Lightning,” Dean’s credits included the films “Spud,” “Blood in the Water” and “Don’t Sleep.”

In Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness,” Dean starred alongside Harris Dickinson and Woody Harrelson. She played Yaya, the model-influencer girlfriend of Dickinson’s Carl.

At the film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, Dean said starring in the film was like a prize.

“For me, I’m like, I’ve already won. I’m already at Cannes with the movie. That’s so unbelievable,” she said. “Anything is just a cherry on top at this point for me, you know?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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