Whitney Houston drowned with cocaine in system: coroner

Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:58am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop star Whitney Houston died of accidental drowning due to the effects of cocaine use and heart disease, a Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman said on Thursday.

The 48-year-old singer, who spent years battling addiction to drugs including cocaine, was found submerged in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room on February 12, the eve of the Grammy Awards.

An autopsy into Houston's death found that the cause of death was accidental drowning with atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors, Los Angeles County Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey said.

Harvey said toxicology tests also turned up marijuana, an anti-anxiety medication, a muscle relaxant and an anti-histamine in Houston's system.

Those drugs were not found to have contributed to her death, and no trauma or foul play were suspected, the coroner's office said. A final report was expected to be made public within two weeks.

"We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure," Patricia Houston, the pop superstar's manager and sister-in-law said in a statement on Thursday.

Houston soared to the top of the pop charts in the 1980s, best known for a string of hit songs including "I Will Always Love You." But her career declined as she battled personal issues that included drug addiction.

Patricia Houston told Oprah Winfrey in an interview this month that she had believed the pop star's worst days of drug abuse were behind her.   Continued...

Whitney Houston performs at the Pre-Grammy Gala & Salute to Industry Icons with Clive Davis honoring David Geffen held in Beverly Hills, California, February 12, 2011. REUTERS/Phil McCarten