Whitney Houston's medical records sought after mystery death

Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:36pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Officials investigating the death of singer Whitney Houston have issued subpoenas for her medical records after finding prescription drugs in her Beverly Hills hotel room.

The Los Angeles Coroner's office said on Wednesday the move was standard procedure in such cases. Houston, 48, who had a history of addiction to cocaine and alcohol, was found unconscious and underwater in a bathtub late last week on the eve of the annual Grammy Awards show.

A private funeral is planned for her in her Newark, New Jersey hometown this coming Saturday. NBC and CBS television networks reported on Wednesday that Aretha Franklin, Houston's godmother, has been asked to sing at the service.

The coroner's office has declined to release details of an initial autopsy on the "I Will Always Love You" pop star, and is awaiting results of tests for drugs, alcohol and other substances that may have been in her system.

"It is just standard protocol to find out who were the deceased's doctors and what the person was being treated for," said Lt. Fred Corral, of the Los Angeles Coroner's office.

"We do that all the time when we find drugs or alcohol at the scene," he added, referring to the subpoenas.

Celebrity website TMZ.com obtained a copy of Houston's death certificate on Wednesday, which showed the cause of death as "deferred." The certificate said Houston would be buried at a Westfield, New Jersey cemetery, and TMZ quoted sources close to the family as saying she would be laid to rest next to the grave of her father John.

Officials have said they found some prescription drugs in Houston's hotel room but they declined to give details. TMZ said the amount was small, but included the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, over the counter painkillers and some antibiotics.   Continued...

A Filipino fan writes a message on a tribute wall for the late American singer-actress Whitney Houston that is displayed inside a mall in Manila, February 15, 2012. 

REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco