Quebecers were shocked to learn in January that singer-songwriter Karim Ouellet had died. Authorities only revealed that the young pop icon was found dead in his Quebec City music studio on January 17. But the coroner's report made public on Wednesday, June 22, has disclosed more details about the tragic death of the 37-year-old musician.
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An autopsy done on January 19 revealed that Ouellet actually died on November 15, two months before the discovery of his body. That was also the last time he was seen alive by other tenants of the building where he rented his studio.
In early January, "a member of Mr. Ouellet's family contacted the owner of the studio to ask for an update; the landlord checked and noted that he had not paid rent for the last two months, without further concern," the report reads.
Two weeks later, the owner reportedly contacted 911 after receiving complaints about a "foul smell coming from the studio."
Quebec City police and paramedics went to the scene and discovered Ouellet's lifeless body. His death was confirmed at 11:12 p.m., remotely, by a doctor from the Unité de coordination clinique des services préhospitaliers d’urgence (UCCSPU).
According to the report, the cause of Ouellet's death was natural. He died of "diabetic ketoacidosis following consumption of methamphetamine."
The musician's medical file shows that he had type 1 diabetes and a substance-use disorder. The coroner posits that Ouellet had not taken insulin for months, during which time he developed a cocaine addiction that made his insulin intake "more erratic."
On October 31, 2021, Ouellet was found unconscious and rushed to the emergency room with severe hypoglycemia. He signed a refusal of treatment, despite the insistence of the nurses that he see an endocrinologist. He was discharged the same day.
The presence of methamphetamine in Ouellet's blood samples suggests that "the drug may have had the same effect on Mr. Ouellet who, being under the influence, was no more concerned about his diabetes than in previous months," writes the coroner.
Police found no signs of violence or break-ins at the scene. They did find white powder which was later confirmed to be cocaine.
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