Donna Scott, the widow of veteran film director Tony Scott, has denied her husband had inoperable brain cancer, contradicting speculation by ABC News that such a diagnosis could have led the 68-year-old to commit suicide on Aug. 19.
On Good Morning America on Monday, the day after the 68-year-old director jumped to his death from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles, ABC revealed that a “source close to Scott” said he had inoperable brain cancer. News of his apparent condition was then repeated by several news outlets.
However, according to TMZ, Donna Scott told investigators the rumor of her husband’s inoperable brain cancer is “absolutely false.”
The entertainment news site claims to have been told “Scott’s wife says Tony did not have any other severe medical issues that would have caused him to take his own life.”
It reports: “Although the autopsy results have been deferred pending more tests, our sources say there is no evidence of brain cancer.”
Craig Harvey, chief investigator for the coroner’s office, told the Daily Telegraph: “A family spokesman told us late this afternoon that the information was not true, but we will be looking at everything.”
Late on Monday, ABC replaced its online report with an updated article:”Tony Scott Brain Cancer Report in Doubt,” which reads in part:
“The family of director Tony Scott, who died Sunday after jumping off a Los Angeles bridge, was not aware Scott had cancer, Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told ABC News station KABC in Los Angeles.”
It continues: “ABC News was unable to reach Scott’s family to confirm the assistant chief coroner’s statement.”
According to the New York Times, an ABC spokeswoman said the updated information “will also be included on air in the next show up – our overnight news show, ‘World News Now’ – and on ‘Good Morning America.’”
The blunder serves as further embarrassment to ABC, after reporter Brian Ross made a inaccurate connection between James Holmes, the accused perpetrator of the Aurora mass shootings, which left 12 people dead, with the Tea Party movement, on July 20. Both ABC and Brian Ross subsequently apologized.
Best known for action thrillers like 1986’s Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise, Tony Scott directed several blockbuster hits in a career that spanned nearly three decades, including Beverly Hills Cop II, Days of Thunder, Enemy of the State, and most recently 2010’s Unstoppable.
Scott is survived by his wife, Donna, twin sons Max and Frank and his elder brother, Ridley Scott, also an acclaimed film director.