The man, whose name has not been released, was found dead at his home in Inverness-shire on 15 February. The death is believed to have involved a firearm.
The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) – an independent watchdog which scrutinises the way police respond to compltains from the public – has been asked by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Office (COPFS) to conduct the investigation.
The man’s family has been informed of the probe.
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A police spokeswoman said: “Following the death of an 80-year-old man in the Inverness-shire area, Police Scotland can confirm that the matter has been referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner for an independent investigation of the police handling of the incident.
“A further statement will be considered on the conclusion of the review.”
A spokesman for the Crown Office said: “COPFS can confirm that we have instructed the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) to investigate the circumstances of an incident on 15 February 2015 in Inverness-shire on our behalf.”
PIRC investigates deaths which involved direct or indirect contact with the police.
The commissioner can also be asked to investigate when there is an indication that a serving officer has committed an offence, or any allegation of misconduct.