Whitney Houston died by drowning in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton Hotel suite, according to the LA coroner, but it was also determined that a non-lethal level of cocaine was found in her body, and that long-term cocaine abuse contributed to her death.
So far left unanswered is whether any illegal drugs were found at the scene, whether anybody from Whitney Houston’s entourage is suspected of cleaning up the area before paramedics arrived, and how she obtained the drugs.
“It’s still an open investigation for us,” Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen told People magazine when asked if cocaine was found in the hotel room.
“I can’t disclose any details about the investigation.”
Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter previously confirmed that prescription bottles were found at the scene but that the medications were “not in an alarming amount.” The coroner has not commented on whether illegal drugs were also found.
Whitney Houston’s death is still an open investigation for police
Whitney Houston, 48, was found unresponsive and underwater in the tub on February 11, a day before the Grammy Awards, and was pronounced dead at the scene soon afterward.
The star had a long and well-publicized battle with substance abuse and went into rehab several times, including a stint in May 2011 in an outpatient program for what her reps said was drug and alcohol treatment.
The coroner’s office on Thursday released only a brief synopsis of its findings. A full autopsy report, which typically includes details of what investigators find at the death scene and witness interviews, is expected in about two weeks.
What the coroner is announcing is that based on a February 12 autopsy and toxicology tests: “The final cause of death has been determined to be drowning (and) effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.”
Cocaine, according to the report, was “contributory to death.” Also found in her system were marijuana, Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and Benadryl, “but did not contribute to the death.”
The bottom line, according to the report: “No trauma or foul play is suspected.”
Lionel Richie believes that Whitney Houston was the only person who could have saved herself from drugs.
Lionel Richie, 62, was a friend of Whitney Houston, who tragically died after allegedly ingesting alcohol and prescription drugs last month, but knows from his experiences with daughter Nicole, who had problems with heroin and cocaine abuse, that she was the only person who could have turned her life around.
He told UK TV show BBC Breakfast: ”You know … I know from Nicole’s experience. At some point you’ve got to realize the only person that’s going to save you – Nicole, or Whitney – is going to be yourself.
”This is s a tough business, a very tough business and you don’t hear this story every day, about people who are in our business, but it happens every day.
”The stories you don’t hear are the stories of the people who are not famous.”
Lionel Richie believes that Whitney Houston was the only person who could have saved herself from drugs
Lionel Richie also said he can see how stars find it hard to see sense when they are surrounded by people who tell them everything they do is right.
Asked about being surrounded by such people, Lionel Richie added: ”I’m not immune to that, we’ve had that all the time.
”I get suspicious when from the time I wake up in the morning to when I go to bed in the evening everything I did was OK.
”That’s great but you know there’s nothing you could do all day that’s perfect, so you get suspicious and go, <<Something’s wrong if I’m right all the time.>> ”
Nicole managed to overcome her problems when she checked into rehab in 2003, and Lionel Richie recently revealed how he even went to stay in the facility with her to help her through the treatment.
Lionel Richie said: ”I was about to go out on tour and I said, <<Cancel the tour, we are checking into rehab>>. We as a family and, of course, I remember that look on her face when she walked down that hall and she said, <<Are you going to be here?>>
”I said, <<I’m right down the hall. I’m not going anywhere>>, because to me, there’s nothing more important, there’s no other greater signal you can send your kid – not only do I love you, but I want to demonstrate it.”