Whitney Houston: Investigation closed, no foul play
Lt. Mark Rosen, a spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department, said investigators based their decision on the coroner’s findings that the singer's death was due to accidental drowning and, in part, the result of cocaine ingestion and a heart condition.
The report found that Houston was submerged in bathwater for nearly an hour before a personal assistant found her dead in the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The 41-page coroner's report provided new details on the death of the 48-year-old singer.
Early on, authorities suspected that some combination of narcotic substances, prescription medications and alcohol played a role in Houston's death.
Houston was last seen alive by her personal assistant Feb. 11 between 2:35 p.m. and 3 p.m., the report stated. Houston had complained of having a lingering sore throat in the days leading up to her death.
Before the assistant left, she told Houston to "take a bath to start getting ready for tonight," referring to a pre-Grammy party thrown by her mentor, producer Clive Davis, according to the report.
The personal assistant left to pick up items at Neiman Marcus and when she returned at 3:36 p.m she found Houston face-down and unresponsive in the bathtub, the report stated. She called out to a bodyguard, the report stated, and they pulled Houston out of the bathtub before the assistant called the front desk and told them to call 911.
On a bathroom counter were "a small spoon with a white, crystal-like substance in it and a rolled-up piece of white paper, along with other miscellaneous items," it said.
In a nearby drawer were "remnants of a white powdery substance and a portable mirror on a base and on the bottom of that base were more remnants of a white, powdery substance."
Authorities collected several bottles of prescription drugs from Houston's suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel but officials said the amounts of drugs did not seem unusually large.
Houston had battled drug addiction for years, and the coroner's office found traces of several drugs — including marijuana, the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril as well as Benadryl — in her system.
The coroner's office concluded in March in a preliminary report that those drugs did not contribute to her death.
Cocaine did play a role, though officials would not say how much of the drug was in her system. Craig Harvey, the coroner's operations chief, said the toxicology findings "suggested chronic usage."
In an interview with ABC News in 2002, Houston acknowledged using cocaine as well as marijuana and drinking heavily at times. She strongly denied using crack cocaine. "Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack," she said in the interview. "Let's get that straight. OK? We don't do crack. We don't do that."
Last May, Houston's spokeswoman said the singer was going back into rehab.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick sing "That's What Friends Are For" at the 2011 Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times