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Category: Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston: Another Hollywood death linked to drugs

Whitney
An autopsy confirmed what many had speculated since Whitney Houston’s death last month of the eve of the Grammy Awards: another high-profile Hollywood death that was linked to drug use.

Houston’s death comes three years after Michael Jackson died at his Holmby Hills mansion after taking a powerful sedative that is typical only administered in a hospital setting.

 

Cocaine has played a role in several high-profile dea

Comic actor <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB000435" title="John Belushi" href="/topic/entertainment/john-belushi-PECLB000435.topic">John Belushi</a>, who long had a reputation for excess, was found dead from an overdose of cocaine and heroin in his bed at the Chateau Marmont hotel on Sunset Boulevard on March 5, 1982. Belushi performed on <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ENTTV00000001" title="Saturday Night Live (tv program)" href="/topic/entertainment/television/saturday-night-live-%28tv-program%29-ENTTV00000001.topic">"Saturday Night Live"</a> before making the transition to movies including "Animal House" and <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ENMV0011032" title="The Blues Brothers (movie)" href="/topic/entertainment/movies/the-blues-brothers-%28movie%29-ENMV0011032.topic">"The Blues Brothers."</a>

ths among entertainers. In 1982, John Belushi died of a combined injection of cocaine and heroin known as a speedball at the Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip. Fellow “Saturday Night Live” performer Chris Farley died of an accidental overdose of cocaine and morphine in Chicago in 1997.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Houston's use of cocaine "exacerbated her heart condition" and played a role in her accidental drowning in the bathtub of a Beverly Hills hotel suite, Los Angeles County Chief Coroner's Investigator Craig Harvey said Thursday.

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Amount of cocaine in Whitney Houston's system unclear

Photo: Musician Alicia Keys, Chairman and CEO BMG USA Clive Davis and singer Whitney Houston arrive at the Legendary Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Party held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 9, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. Credit: Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Officials have not revealed the amount of cocaine and other drugs found in singer Whitney Houston’s system, but fans and admirers said they were not shocked by the autopsy's findings.

Houston, 48, was found lifeless and submerged in a bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hilton on Feb. 11 by friends and family. She had been taking part in pre-Grammy events and had planned to attend a party for her longtime mentor Clive Davis at the hotel.

In addition to the cocaine, Ed Winter, deputy chief of coroner investigations, said marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were found in her body. Xanax is traditionally used as an anxiety treatment. Flexeril is a muscle relaxant and Benadryl addresses allergies and can be used as a sleep aid.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Houston had a long history of drug addiction.

A couple days before she died, Houston drew the attention of reporters and security staff with her erratic behavior, dripping sweat and disheveled clothes.

RELATED:

Numerous drugs found in singer's system

Houston may have had heart attack before drowning

-- Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Musician Alicia Keys, Chairman and CEO BMG USA Clive Davis and singer Whitney Houston arrive at the Legendary Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Party held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 9, 2008, in Beverly Hills, California. Credit: Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Whitney Houston’s family ‘saddened’ by coroner's cocaine finding

Photo: Singer Whitney Houston performs at the 2011 Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala and Salute to Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 13. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Coroner releases Whitney Houston's cause of death Whitney Houston's sister-in-law and manager issued a statement saying they are thankful to finally know how the singer died.

"We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure," said Patricia Houston, the singer's sister-in-law and manager, in a statement to the Associated Press.

In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Patricia Houston described the frantic efforts to revive Whitney Houston at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11 after she was discovered unresponsive, submerged in the bathtub of her suite.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Patricia Houston told Winfrey she raced to Houston's room after hearing an assistant screaming and crying. She found her brother Ray over Houston, frantically trying to revive her. Houston was out of the bathtub and on the floor, she said, but Patricia Houston said she was unsure how she got there.

"The paramedics were coming in at that point. I said, 'Ray, let it go.' He was so out of breath. I felt so badly for him," Patricia Houston said, according to a transcript of the interview.

She was able to see Houston before paramedics arrived moments later.

"She had a peaceful look on her face," Patricia Houston said.

The coroner's report released Thursday determined that Whitney Houston died accidentally as the result of drowning. The coroner said heart disease and cocaine use were also factors. Toxicology tests showed a cocktail of drugs in the pop star's system. Traces of marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were also found, but officials concluded that those drugs did not contribute to her death.

Houston was in Los Angeles to take part in pre-Grammy events and had planned to attend a party for her longtime mentor Clive Davis at the hotel.

Davis, who discovered Houston and shepherded her recording career, declined through a spokeswoman to comment on the coroner's report.

RELATED:

Numerous drugs found in singer's system

Houston may have had heart attack before drowning

-- Richard Winton and Randy Lewis

Photo: Singer Whitney Houston performs at the 2011 Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala and Salute to Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 13. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

No cocaine found in Whitney Houston’s hotel room, coroner says

Photo: Singer Whitney Houston arrives at the 2011 Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala and Salute to Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 13. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Coroner releases Whitney Houston's cause of death No cocaine was retrieved from the Beverly Hills hotel room where Whitney Houston died even though toxicology tests found the drug in her system, coroner's officials said.

Ed Winter, deputy chief of the Los Angeles County coroner's office, said several bottles of pills were recovered -– but no cocaine. Winter said the amounts of cocaine and other drugs in her system will not be known for a few more weeks.

Experts have told The Times that it will probably take time for investigators to sort out Houston's medical history and prescription drug inventory.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

The Los Angeles County coroner's office has said that investigators have asked "a number" of doctors to provide them with Houston's medical information.

Experts said it could be challenging to build a complete list of a subject's prescription drugs, particularly a celebrity's. Some celebrities use the names of their assistants -- or fake names -- on prescriptions, they said.

L.A. County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Opferman, who oversees a prescription drug task force but is not involved in the Houston case, said, "Celebrities often get their prescription drugs from doctors who are more than willing to give them what they want and sometimes using members of their entourage."

Authorities collected several bottles of drugs from Houston's suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. At the time of her death, officials said the amounts of drugs did not seem unusually large.

Houston, 48, was found lifeless and submerged in a bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hilton on Feb. 11 by friends and family. She had been taking part in pre-Grammy events and had planned to attend a party for her longtime mentor Clive Davis at the hotel.

In addition to the cocaine, Winter said, marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were found in her body. Xanax is traditionally used as an anxiety treatment. Flexeril is a muscle relaxant, and Benadryl addresses allergies and can be used as a sleep aid.

The singer had a long history of drug addiction.

A couple days before she died, Houston drew the attention of reporters and security staff with her erratic behavior, dripping sweat and disheveled clothes. The singer was disruptive at that day's rehearsals for music mogul Clive Davis' annual Grammy industry party and showcase; that party at the Hilton on Saturday night was supposed to include a performance by Houston.

In a notorious 2002 interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, she acknowledged her battle with drugs.

"The biggest devil is me," Houston told Sawyer. "I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy."

RELATED:

Family ‘saddened’ by coroner's cocaine finding

Numerous drugs found in Whitney Houston's system

Houston may have had heart attack before drowning

-- Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Singer Whitney Houston arrives at the 2011 Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala and Salute to Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at the Beverly Hilton. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Whitney Houston may have had heart attack before drowning

Photo: Whitney Houston at the BET Honors in the Warner Theatre in Washington back in 2009. Credit: Evan Agostini/Associated Press

Coroner releases Whitney Houston's cause of death Although the Los Angeles County coroner listed accidental drowning as the official cause of singer Whitney Houston's death last month, officials said she may have suffered a heart attack before the drowning.

Autopsy and toxicology tests determined that atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine were also factors. Cocaine was found in her system, along with numerous other drugs.

When asked to explain the drowning, Ed Winter, deputy chief of coroner investigations, said, "She may have had a heart attack."

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Houston, 48, was found lifeless and submerged in a bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hilton on Feb. 11 by friends and family. She had been taking part in pre-Grammy events and had planned to attend a party for her longtime mentor Clive Davis at the hotel.

In addition to the cocaine, Winter said, marijuana, Xanax and Flexeril and Benadryl were found in her body. Xanax is traditionally used as an anxiety treatment. Flexeril is a muscle relaxant and Benadryl addresses allergies and can be used as a sleep aid.

Winter said the amounts of cocaine and the medications won't be known for a few weeks.

Houston had a long history of drug addiction.

A couple days before she died, Houston drew the attention of reporters and security staff with her erratic behavior, dripping sweat and disheveled clothes. The singer was disruptive at that day's rehearsals for music mogul Clive Davis' annual Grammy industry party and showcase; that party at the Hilton on Saturday night was supposed to include a performance by Houston.

RELATED:

Family ‘saddened’ by coroner's cocaine finding

Numerous drugs found in Whitney Houston's system

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Whitney Houston at the BET Honors in the Warner Theatre in Washington in 2009. Credit: Evan Agostini/Associated Press

Coroner: Numerous drugs found in Whitney Houston's system

Whitney Houston
Numerous drugs were found in Whitney Houston's body, but only cocaine was one of the contributing factors to her death, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

The coroner's office ruled that the final cause of Houston's death was accidental drowning, but noted that cocaine use and heart disease were contributing factors.

Toxicology tests, however, showed a cocktail of drugs in the pop star's system. Traces of marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were also found, but officials concluded those drugs did not contribute to her death.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Whitney Houston died as the result of drowning in what the Los Angeles County coroner has ruled as an accidental death. The coroner said heart disease and cocaine use were also factors in her death last month.

Coroner releases Whitney Houston's cause of death The ruling ends weeks of speculation over how the pop star died. A full autopsy report is expected in two weeks.

Houston had a long history of drug addiction.

A couple days before she died, Houston drew the attention of reporters and security staff with her erratic behavior, dripping sweat and disheveled clothes. The singer was disruptive at that day's rehearsals for music mogul Clive Davis' annual Grammy industry party and showcase; that party at the Hilton on Saturday night was supposed to include a performance by Houston.

Investigators have served subpoenas on doctors and pharmacies as they try to determine whether prescription drugs played a role in the singer's death.

Authorities collected several bottles of prescription medications from Houston's suite. But officials have said the amounts of drugs did not seem unusually large, leaving it unclear whether the medications had anything to do with her death.

-- Andrew Blankstein

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

Whitney Houston drowned accidentally; cocaine in her system

Whitney Houston in 2005

Coroner releases Whitney Houston's cause of death This post has been amended. See note below.
Whitney Houston died as the result of drowning in what the Los Angeles County coroner has ruled as an accidental death. The coroner said heart disease and cocaine use were also factors in her death on Feb. 11. Cocaine was found in her system, the coroner said.

The ruling ends weeks of speculation over how the pop star died.

Authorities collected several bottles of prescription drugs from Houston's suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where she was found dead. But officials have said the amounts of drugs did not seem unusually large.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Toxicology tests showed a cocktail of drugs in the pop star's system. Traces of marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were also found, but officials concluded that those drugs did not contribute to her death.

Houston was found in a bathtub at the hotel a day before the Grammy Awards.

The death certificate, released this month, states that the manner of death was "pending investigation."

[For the record, 4:07 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that because the amount of drugs found in her room was not an unusually large amount, it was unclear whether they played a role. The report released Thursday states that cocaine was a contributing cause of her death, but the other drugs found in her system were not factors.]

RELATED:

Numerous drugs found in singer's system

Houston may have had heart attack before drowning

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Whitney Houston in 2005. Credit: Los Angeles Times

L.A. council decries racist, sexist language on airwaves

The Los Angeles City Council called Tuesday for radio outlets to put an end to racist and sexist language on the airwaves.

The resolution, which passed by a 13-2 vote, is a symbolic statement that decried recent incidents involving local KFI-AM (640) talk-radio hosts John and Ken.

The duo, John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, referred to the late Grammy-winning singer Whitney Houston on the air as a "crack ho."

Though an original draft leaned specifically on the station and its parent company Clear Channel Media to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use such language, an amendment to the statement instead broadened it to all local media outlets.

The resolution was sponsored by Councilwoman Jan Perry, Council President Herb Wesson and Councilman Bernard Parks. Among other things, it says KFI  has 15 on-air personalities and "only one is female and none of them are African American.”

After the controversial comment, KFI ordered seven-day suspensions for the popular hosts, saying that the station “does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind.”

At the time, the station also made several pledges to increase sensitivity to minorities at the station. Kobylt and Chiampou agreed to take part in “cultural sensitivity training,” the station said, “furthering their awareness of the cultural melting pot that is Southern California.”

A message left with the station for comment was not returned.

Talk radio host Dominique DiPrima of KJLH-FM (102.3) was among a number of speakers in support of the resolution. DiPrima said that a lack of diversity among radio hosts contributes to the prevalence of derogatory speech on the airwaves.

“Instead of censoring people, or firing people, we want to see representation in terms of hiring and clear standards of what can and can’t be said on the air,” she said.

Councilman Paul Krekorian said that the aim of the resolution was not to stifle free speech, but rather to push society to agree on what is appropriate speech and reject what is not.

“It’s exactly appropriate for this council to speak up against the vile things we hear on the airwaves,” he said. 

ALSO:

Human smuggling boat seized, 20 detained in El Segundo

'Kony' creator Jason Russell will remain hospitalized for weeks

Singer El DeBarge arrested in Encino on suspicion of drug possession

-- Stephen Ceasar at Los Angeles City Hall

Whitney Houston: Frantic efforts to revive stricken singer described

Whitney Houston in 2005

Frantic efforts to revive Whitney Houston at the Beverly Hilton Hotel were described in an interview Oprah Winfrey did with family members that aired Sunday.

Patricia Houston, the singer's sister-in-law and manager, described the moments when Houston was discovered unresponsive, submerged in the bathtub of her hotel suite on Feb. 11.

Patricia Houston told Winfrey she raced to Houston's room after hearing an assistant screaming and crying. She found her brother Ray over Houston, frantically trying to revive her. Houston was out of the bathtub and on the floor, she said, but Patricia Houston said she was not sure how she got there.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

"The paramedics were coming in at that point. I said, 'Ray, let it go.' He was so out of breath. I felt so badly for him," Patricia Houston said, according to a transcript of the interview.

The comments come as the L.A. County coroner's office and Beverly Hills Police Department try to determine how Houston died the evening before the Grammy Awards.

Beverly Hills police officials have said they don't believe foul play was involved, but sources said investigators cannot settle on a cause of death until all toxicology tests are back and detectives have concluded all interviews.

Investigators have served subpoenas on doctors and pharmacies as they try to determine whether prescription drugs played a role in the singer's death.

Continue reading »

Whitney Houston's sister-in-law describes finding singer dead

Whitney Houston in 2005

Whitney Houston's sister-in-law and manager described to Oprah Winfrey the scene in a Beverly Hills hotel suite when the singer was found dead.

Patricia Houston told Oprah Winfrey in an interview broadcast Sunday said she heard screams coming from Houston's room and when she arrived she saw one of the singer's assistants in tears.

She was able to see Houston before paramedics arrived moments later.

“She had a peaceful look on her face," Patricia Houston said.

The comments come as the L.A. County coroner's office and Beverly Hills Police Department try to determine how Houston died last month at a Beverly Hills hotel a day before the Grammy Awards.

Beverly Hills police officials have said they don't believe foul play was involved, but sources said investigators cannot give a cause of death until all toxicology tests are back and detectives have concluded all interviews.

Investigators have served subpoenas on doctors and pharmacies as they try to determine whether prescription drugs played a role in the singer's death.

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