Whitney Houston cause of death 'not known'

 

US officials have said it is too soon to determine whether prescription drugs were involved in Whitney Houston's death.

Website TMZ reported that the star's family were told by Los Angeles County Coroner officials that prescription medication mixed with alcohol - and not drowning - appear to be to blame.

But Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said that it was too early to determine what caused the 48-year-old singer to be discovered dead in her bathtub in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Asked about the reports, said to have come from family sources, he said: "I'm the one that talked to the family and I did not provide that information..."

He confirmed Houston was found in the bath, but said that it was too soon to determine the cause of death before the results of toxicology tests.

"We are awaiting the results of toxicology tests," he said: "We do not know yet (the cause of death)."

"When we find out ... we will be in contact with the family and give them our findings."

Mr Winter said Houston's family are "making arrangements" to have the singer's body returned to them following the completion of the autopsy.

He said in a press conference: "I don't know when the family is going to have her body. They are making arrangements. Sometimes it takes a couple of days."

He added: "The autopsy has been completed, there is no hold on the body."

The US singer was found by a member of her entourage in her hotel room on Saturday, just hours before she was supposed to appear at a pre-Grammy gala.

Beverly Hills Police Lieutenant Mark Rosen said there were no indications of foul play when she was found.

Paramedics' attempts to revive her were unsuccessful and Houston, once the golden girl of the pop world, was pronounced dead shortly before 4pm.

The 54th annual Grammy awards opened with a prayer and standing ovation to the singer, who herself won a clutch of six prestigious Recording Academy gongs over a turbulent career marred by spells of drug addiction.

Host LL Cool J said: "There is no way around this. We've had a death in our family so at least for me, the only thing that seems right is to start with a prayer for our fallen sister Whitney Houston."

He declared the night one to "celebrate and remember", and played a clip of Houston performing I Will Always Love You from the 1994 Grammys.

Later in the show, actress and singer Jennifer Hudson performed an emotional tribute, singing a rendition of the late star's biggest hit.

Dressed in black, with only the accompaniment of a piano, she had to fight back tears as she sang the song, ending with the line: "Whitney, we will always love you."

Stevie Wonder said: "To Whitney up in heaven, we all love you."

Houston, one of the world's best-selling artists in the 1980s and 1990s, was due to perform at the annual pre-Grammy party of her long-time mentor, record producer Clive Davis at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, was taken to a Los Angeles hospital by ambulance and later released. A source close to the family said she was treated for stress and anxiety.

The 18-year-old, who is Houston's daughter from her tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, had accompanied her mother to several pre-Grammy Awards events.

Bobby Brown said in a statement: "At this time, we ask for privacy, especially for my daughter, Bobbi Kristina.

"I appreciate all of the condolences that have been directed towards my family and I at this most difficult time."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Duty Manager is required to join one of the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Leader

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Team Leader is required to join one of the l...

Recruitment Genius: Chef

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Chef is required to join one of the largest ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is required to jo...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor