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    Houston died from drowning, coroner says

    Associated PressBy ANTHONY McCARTNEY | Associated Press – 12 hours ago

    • FILE - In this April 25, 2010 file photo, singer Whitney Houston performs at the o2 in London as part of her European tour. Coroner's officials said Thursday, March 22, 2012, that Houston drowned, but her death was also caused by heart disease and cocaine use that suggested she was chronically using the drug. Houston died Feb. 11, in California at the age of 48. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, file)View Photo

      FILE – In this April 25, 2010 file photo, singer Whitney Houston performs at the …

    • FILE - This Jan. 17, 2009 file photo shows singer Whitney Houston at the BET Honors in the Warner Theatre in Washington. Coroner's officials said Thursday, March 22, 2012, that Houston drowned, but her death was also caused by heart disease and cocaine use that suggested she was chronically using the drug. Houston died Feb. 11, in California at the age of 48. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)View Photo

      FILE – This Jan. 17, 2009 file photo shows singer Whitney Houston at the BET Honors …

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Whitney Houston was a chronic cocaine user who had the drug in her system when she drowned in a hotel bathtub, coroner’s officials said Thursday after releasing autopsy findings that also noted heart disease contributed to her death.

    The disclosure ended weeks of speculation about what killed the Grammy-winning singer on Feb. 11 on the eve of the Grammy Awards.

    Houston was found submerged in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and her death was ruled accidental. Several bottles of prescription medications were found in her hotel room, but coroner’s officials said there weren’t excessive quantities.

    "We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure," Patricia Houston, the singer’s sister-in-law and manager, wrote in a statement to The Associated Press.

    Beverly Hills police said in a statement there was no evidence of wrongdoing in connection with Houston’s death.

    Coroner’s Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said cocaine and its byproducts were found in Houston’s system, and the drug was listed as a contributing factor in her death. He said the results indicated Houston was a chronic cocaine user.

    Toxicology results also showed Houston had marijuana, Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril, and the allergy medication Benadryl in her system. Houston died just hours before she was scheduled to appear at producer Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy Awards bash.

    The singer also had buildup of plaque in her arteries that can restrict blood flow. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said the condition is common in drug users, although he said it wasn’t clear whether Houston had a heart attack on the day she died.

    "It just beats up their heart and they will go to use and they will have a heart attack," he said.

    The exact amount of cocaine in Houston’s system was not disclosed Thursday but will be contained in a full autopsy report to be released in about two weeks, officials said.

    Cocaine use has been known to cause damage to the heart and could have cause Houston’s death, said Dr. Michael Fishbein, professor of pathology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He had no role in the investigation.

    He said a likely scenario was that Houston’s cocaine use interfered with the normal function of her heart.

    "There’s no reason to drown in a bathtub unless you’re incapacitated," Fishbein said.

    Family and friends said after Houston’s death that they didn’t believe she was still abusing drugs.

    "I don’t think drugs was an issue for her before her death. I don’t know what happened that day," Patricia Houston said in a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.

    Houston, 48, was buried in a New Jersey cemetery next to her father after an emotional four-hour funeral service that was attended by friends, family and superstars such as Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson and Roberta Flack

    Houston, a sensation from her first, eponymous album in 1985, was one of the world’s best-selling artists from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, turning out such hits as "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," ”How Will I Know," ”The Greatest Love of All" and "I Will Always Love You." But as she struggled with drugs, her majestic voice became raspy, and she couldn’t hit the high notes.

    Interest in her music skyrocketed after her death, pushing her songs back on to charts and into heavy rotation on the radio.

    She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, but Houston’s drug use derailed her career and took a heavy toll on her once pristine voice.

    But by the end of her career, she was a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming. Her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills and was eventually unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.

    "The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 television interview with then-husband Bobby Brown by her side.

    She had been attempting a comeback when she died. She had finished filming a remake of the movie "Sparkle" in which Houston sang the gospel hymn "His Eye is on the Sparrow." Producers of the film have said the singer was a complete professional on the set.


    Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP.


    Associated Press writers Nekesa Mumbi Moody in New York and Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


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    • Carol

      Carol11 hours ago

      Cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril, and Benadryl most likely put her into a deep sleep and she slipped under water. Blows away the reports she had "cleaned her act up".

    • Albert

      Albert8 hours ago

      Calling her death a accidental drowning is a politically correct way of hiding the truth.

    • Racist Cat

      Racist Cat •  Shoshone, California9 hours ago

      There are thousands of nameless unknown people going the same way.

    • greg

      greg3 hours ago

      First sign of addiction is DENIAL.. When her family didn’t believe she was still using, then it sounds like THEY were in denial too.. DRUGS KILL.. SAD

    • Citizen

      Citizen •  New Ulm, Minnesota1 hour 37 minutes ago

      There she was minding her own business doing cocaine in the bathtub.

    • critters_r_me

      critters_r_me5 hours ago

      Death is horrible for the family, but if someone needs that many drugs at one time to function, that’s not really living, it is just existing. Sometimes the greatest gift is they are at peace.

    • truth

      truth7 hours ago

      i didn’t know you could fall asleep after that much Coke!..maybe three days later!

    • Vic

      Vic5 hours ago

      Come on folks we are multi faceted people able to feel sadness and still think her death a shame and a waste- to enjoy and appreciate her talent and her contributions to music with out condoning some of her life choices. She like everybody else on earth was Good and bad – selfless and selfish – Smart and foolish – I for one choose to consider her Human. And remember how she made me feel when she sang the National Anthem goose bumps run up my arms!

    • pgm

      pgm •  Santa Ana, California5 hours ago

      EXTREME drug use and the entertainment industry are bedfellows…it seems one cannot function without the other and it is nothing new. ONLY awareness of the insidious effects of chronic drug use may curb its hold on culture, but I don’t think it will ever entirely stop its abuse, because the human condition tends to seek numbing substitutes to erase mental/physical pain. Though we’d like to blame Bobby Brown, and certainly he may have set her on that path, ultimately, it was a choice she made – and she paid the ultimate price.

    • Spearit

      Spearit •  Asheboro, North Carolina5 hours ago

      Its quite common for someone after a night a cocaine use to take a bath and try to clear out their sinuses and even more common for them to take xanax, flexeril, and benadryl to help them come down from the high. I look back in my life and think wow this could of been me.

    • Big Man

      Big Man7 hours ago


    • cotton

      cotton •  Portsmouth, Ohio1 hour 55 minutes ago

      drowing heart and cocaine a 3 some that dont work

    • linda

      linda •  Everett, Washington3 hours ago

      Foolish woman, she had it all, and because of drugs, she let it all go down the drain, as well as her life.

    • Dscwe

      Dscwe3 hours ago

      the way they have set up the internet is wrong and causes ADD and loss of memory and mental confusion by making it difficult to post answers they should fix this and do a better job at training your people china and russia isnt doing this to theirs the states should stand up go destroy south america or somewhere else teach those of america

    • Robertinho

      Robertinho •  New York, New York9 hours ago

      Thats so sad she ended her life like that in the gutter and lost all that shine and lustre in her voice so powerful too

    • lincoln

      lincoln8 minutes ago

      "krack is whack" she was a coke head

    • roses

      roses •  Medford, Oregon7 hours ago

      Xanax, benedryl and flexeril…any one of those, just one pill, would have knocked me out. There’s no way I would take a bath after taking one of those knockout drugs.

    • Hustle

      Hustle •  Richardson, Texas1 hour 36 minutes ago

      it had to be cocaine, no way she drowned

    • pog

      pog1 hour 38 minutes ago

      Kurt Kabain Elvis Whitney All Did Drugs Color Have ZERO To Do With It RACES IDIOTS
      No Difference Whinhorse All DRUG HEADS

    • Edward

      Edward8 hours ago

      "Beverly Hills police said in a statement there was no evidence of wrongdoing in connection with Houston’s death." Only in Beverly Hills, California, would a law enforcement agency make such a Freudian slip in an official press release. I guess the sale, possession, and use of marihuana and cocaine is just hunky dorey with them. Apparently, only chainsaw murders and the like are considered "wrongdoing" in California.


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    Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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      Houston died from drowning, coroner says – Yahoo! Music


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