Whitney Houston was chronic cocaine user !
Whitney Houston was a chronic cocaine user who had the drug in her system when she drowned in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub, confirming that her long battle with drug addiction caused her demise, officials said Thursday.
An autopsy report on the superstar singer released by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said she had mixed illegal and prescription drugs before she was found lifeless in the tub.
The official cause of death was accidental drowning “and effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use,” the coroner’s office said.
A toxicology report also revealed that traces of marijuana, the prescription anti-anxiety drug Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl were also found in her system.
But the coroner said only the cocaine contributed to her death. No trauma was found on her body and investigators ruled out foul play.
Coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey said the autopsy results indicate Houston was a chronic cocaine user, which likely was a factor in her heart disease.
“According to our tests, the level of cocaine was not necessarily a lethal level of cocaine. But her death was complicated by chronic cocaine use and heart disease,” Harvey said.
He said water found in Houston’s lungs indicated she was briefly alive while submerged in the bathtub.
A final coroner’s report on the New Jersey-raised singer’s death is expected to be released in the next few weeks.
“We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure,” Houston’s sister-in-law and manager Patricia Houston said in a statement.
Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said the circumstances of Houston’s death suggested two scenarios about her final minutes.
“She could’ve passed out first due to the intoxication from the cocaine, or she could’ve had a heart attack and then drowned,” Winter told People magazine. “It’s probably one of those two scenarios.”
Heart attacks are common in chronic users, Winter said. “It just beats up their heart.”
Winter said he has yet to determine how damaged Houston’s heart was.
“That will be in the final report,” he said. “We know she drowned, she had heart disease, and the cocaine was considered a contributing cause to her death.”
It was not clear if Houston had smoked cocaine or snorted it.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey last week, Patricia Houston, who professed to be the singer’s closest confidant, said she thought Whitney had beat her drug addiction.
“I don’t think drugs (were) an issue for her before her death. I don’t know what happened that day,” she said.
However, she said she wouldn’t be surprised if drugs played a role in her final demise.
“The handwriting was kind of on the wall. I would be kidding myself to say otherwise,” Patricia Houston said.
The 48-year-old singer died Feb. 11, just hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammy party hosted by her music-industry mentor Clive Davis.
Investigators said they found no cocaine in her hotel room, but did collect several prescription bottles, including Xanax, along with over-the-counter meds Ibuprofen and Midol.
The announcement ended weeks of speculation on what killed Houston at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Before her untimely death, Houston had been poised to rejuvenate her entertainment career, having recently wrapped up filming the movie “Sparkle” — her first flick in 16 years.