Whitney Houston and her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, at a pre-Grammy party in 2011. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg …With her soaring voice and awe-inspiring accomplishments overshadowed by her addiction to drugs, people were saddened and stunned, but not necessarily surprised, when pop icon Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room on Saturday. Now, TMZ says that the singer died from an overdose of Xanax, other prescription drugs, and alcohol, though official toxicology results have not yet been released.
Houston, 48, was found in her suite at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, where she was slated to perform at a pre-Grammy party hosted by Clive Davis at the hotel that night. According to TMZ her aunt, Mary Jones, had prepared Houston's outfit for the evening and laid the dress out on the bed before leaving Houston's room for about half an hour. When she returned, Houston was still in the bathroom; Jones went in to the bathroom and found the her lying motionless under water. She attempted CPR until paramedics arrived.
Citing unnamed "family sources," TMZ says that the L.A. County Coroner's office determined that there was not enough water in the singer's lungs for her to have drowned. The family was reportedly also told that Houston may have died before her head slipped under water. The prescription drugs Xanax, Lorazepam and Valium were found in her room.
Los Angeles deputy coroner Ed Winter refused to comment on the details of the case. "There will be no cause of death at this time, as it is awaiting toxicology," he said at a press conference on Sunday. "I know there were reports of did she drown or was it an overdose, but I will not be commenting on that." Winter told CBS News on Monday that the information in TMZ's report "did not come from us."
"I don't have those figures yet and that is still pending, and so we're not going to speculate," he said, though he confirmed that she had last been seen "within an hour" of her death and her body was found in the bathtub. The death is not being considered a murder; Houston's family is arranging to have her body taken to Atlanta later this week.
Witnesses have told several media outlets that Houston was seen at a rehearsal with Davis and singers brandy and Monica on Thursday, less than 48 hours before her death. One witness said that she was "reeking of booze, sweat, and cigarettes and with her hair wet," the New York Post reported; Houston explained that her hair was wet because she swims two hours a day.
Videos from later that night show Houston on stage singing "Jesus Loves Me" with Kelly Price at the Tru Hollywood club. She looks happy but haggard, her once-gorgeous voice raspy and rough.
Her 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, was reportedly with her at the club that night for Price's "For the Love of R&B" pre-Grammy party. According to People magazine, she was in the hotel's lobby when her mother's body was discovered, and was turned away by police when she tried to enter her mother's room. Brown was taken to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center briefly later that night and then again the next morning, and treated for anxiety and stress. Her father, New Edition singer Bobby Brown, flew to Los Angeles to be with her on Sunday.
"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney," Houston's family said in a statement released by Houston's publicist. "This is an unimaginable tragedy, and we will miss her terribly. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from her fans and friends."
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