Whitney Houston Death: The Singer May Have Died of Drink and Prescription Drugs

NEW YORK | Monday, February 13th, 2012 11:01pm EDT

Whitney Houston may have died after consuming a cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol, rather than drowning in the bath, but it will take medical examiners up to two months to determine for sure.

Whitney Houston's death was allegedly caused by an overdose of prescription drugs, according to reports this morning. Photo: Zennie Abraham/Flickr

The singer’s family were told by officials that she did not have enough water in her lungs to immediately conclude that drowning was the cause of death, reports The Telegraph.

Authorities said that there were no indications of foul play and no obvious signs of trauma on Houston’s body but that it could be weeks before the coroner’s office completes toxicology tests that could establish the cause of death.

She had taken a combination of the sedative Xanax and other prescription drugs with alcohol, and could have died before her head went under the water.

Houston was found underwater Saturday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel by a member of her staff at about 3:30 p.m., hours before she was supposed to appear at pre-Grammy Awards gala, police Lt. Mark Rosen said.

“As of right now, it’s not a criminal investigation,” he said, refusing to release any further details. “We have concluded our portion of the investigation at the hotel.”

According to The Huff Post, she was pulled from the tub by members of her staff, and hotel security was promptly notified, Rosen said. She was pronounced dead about a half-hour later.

Houston had drunk alcohol shortly before getting into the bath.

A police source told celebrity website TMZ it was possible Houston suffered a heart attack caused by a reaction to medication, but it was too early to definitively decide what killed her.

Police are questioning the singer’s friends and relatives and staff to investigate her erratic behaviour in the days and weeks before she died, which included heavy drinking on the two nights before her death.

The coroner’s office released the body to the family late Monday morning. Two people who spoke with Houston’s family said the singer would be taken to New Jersey.

Los Angeles coroner’s assistant chief Ed Winter said there were bottles of prescription medicine in the room.

He said said prescription bottles were found in the hotel room but they were all “pretty normal” prescriptions. He added: “I have more prescriptions than what was found in her room. I know there were reports of, did she drown or was it an overdose, but I will not be commenting on that.”

Houston’s brother-in-law Billy Watson vehemently denied that the singer would have had any intention of committing suicide.

He said: “Oh, no, this is accidental. She wouldn’t have left her daughter like that. She wouldn’t have done that to her daughter.”

On Friday night, less than 24 hours before Houston died, her daughter Bobbi Kristina, 18, reportedly fell asleep in a bath in another room on the same floor at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, and security had to be contacted to come and unlock the door.

Miss Brown has been hospitalised twice for “stress and anxiety” since her mother’s death.

At the Grammy Awards on Sunday night stars paid tribute to Houston, bowing their heads in a prayer for a “fallen sister.”

Rihanna, Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Hudson are among the artists who have publically paid tribute to Houston. Hudson performed a public tribute to the singer at Grammy Awards, singing Houston’s most famous hit ‘I Will Always Love You’.

Stevie Wonder told the audience: “To Whitney up in heaven, we all love you.”

The singer’s mother Cissy Houston is arranging to take possession of her remains and a memorial service may be held this weekend. Houston’s body was being flown to New Jersey on the east coast by her family.

Tyler Perry, the Hollywood movie mogul offered a private plane. A funeral is expected to be held there at the weekend.

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