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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whitney Houston's Cause Of Death? Most Likely Prescription Drug Cocktail

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Questions surrounding Houston death echo past

Whitney Houston's life was a doleful cover of other addiction-riddled pop stars who put their talent and themselves at risk.

Her death has created more heartrending echoes of tragedies past: The painstaking investigation that follows the shocking loss. Why was Houston found in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub, beyond resuscitation?

The 48-year-old singer, who had prescription drugs in her room, left behind disconsolate family and friends and unfulfilled dreams.

Her body was flown Monday by private jet to New Jersey, where she was born and where her funeral is planned for Saturday. Late Monday, a hearse under heavy police escort arrived at the Newark, N.J., funeral home that was handling the arrangements for the late pop star.

After an autopsy Sunday, authorities said there were no indications of foul play and no obvious signs of trauma on Houston. It could be weeks, however, before the coroner's office completes toxicology tests to establish the cause of death.

The singer had struggled for years with cocaine, marijuana and pills and her behavior had become erratic, including in the period before her death. Some described her as upbeat and eager to perform at producer Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Awards bash.

Others described an unfocused woman, unkempt and smelling of alcohol and cigarettes.

Law enforcement sources have confirmed to CBS News that prescription drugs were also found in the room, creating speculation that a mixture of drugs and alcohol could have contributed to her death.

It recalled the end of Michael Jackson's life, as he tried to turn his career around with an ambitious series of London concerts. The 50-year-old struck many as youthfully energetic and upbeat, while others said he was bedeviled by insomnia that led him to a fatal dosage of prescription drugs in June 2009.

Jackson's death was quickly linked to the anesthetic propofol, although the criminal prosecution of his doctor was played out through 2011. It took three months for a London coroner to rule that Amy Winehouse drank herself to death last July.

Houston's funeral service will be held Saturday in the church where she first showcased her singing talents as a child.

The owner of the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark said Tuesday that Houston's funeral would be held at noon Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where her mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston, led the music program for many years. The funeral home said there would be no wake.

It will likely be smaller than Jackson's Los Angeles memorial service, which included members of the public, 1.6 million of whom had vied for about 9,000 tickets, along with songs from Usher, Jennifer Hudson and Mariah Carey and speeches from other celebrities.

An impromptu memorial for Houston was held during a sadness-tinged Grammys, with Hudson saluting her memory with a performance of "I Will Always Love You." Viewership for the awards show soared over last year by 50 percent, with about 40 million viewers tuning in to the program on CBS.

"It was the greatest honor of my life to be able to be the one to pay tribute to Whitney's memory," Hudson said in a statement Monday. "It was from my heart. I haven't stopped crying since she passed."

Houston was found at the Beverly Hilton Hotel by a member of her staff about 3:30 p.m. PST Saturday, just hours before she was supposed to appear at Davis' party, police Lt. Mark Rosen said. She was pulled from the tub by members of her staff, and hotel security was promptly notified, Rosen said. She was pronounced dead about a half-hour later.

A sensation from her first album, Houston was one of the world's best-selling artists from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, turning out such hits as "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," "How Will I Know," "The Greatest Love of All" and "I Will Always Love You." But as she struggled with drugs, her majestic voice became raspy, and she couldn't hit the high notes.

Houston left behind one child, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, 18, from her marriage to singer Bobby Brown.

Whitney Houston 'died from drugs and NOT from drowning' family 'are told by coroner' as fears grow over mental state of her daughter

1) Coroner tells family not enough water in singer's lungs to conclude she had drowned'

2) She had already died before her head went under the water'

3) Daughter Bobbi Kristina, 18, found asleep in hotel bathtub just 24 hours before

4) Fears grow teenager is suicidal after she is hospitalised TWICE since mother's death

5) Star found under water after mixing a cocktail of prescription drugs with alcohol, it is claimed

6) Award-winning star was on 'brink of bankruptcy' having 'frittered away pop fortune on crack cocaine'

Whitney Houston died from mixing a cocktail of Xanax and other powerful prescription drugs with alcohol, it has been reported.

Her family has allegedly been told by Los Angeles County Coroner officials there was not enough water in her lungs to conclude she had drowned in her luxury hotel bathtub and in fact died before her head went under water, said gossip website TMZ.

The revelations come as it emerged that her daughter Bobbi Kristina, 18, allegedly fell asleep in a bathtub in the same Beverly Hilton hotel just 24 hours before her mother died. TMZ claims security was called to unlock the door and to help the 18-year-old on that occasion.

Relatives now fear Bobbi Kristina has become suicidal - after she was rushed to hospital twice in the 24 hours following the discovery of her mother’s dead body in the bathtub of a Hollywood hotel.

The teenager was first admitted after allegedly passing out, after drinking alcohol and then taking a sedative pill given to her by one of her mother's entourage to calm her down, upon learning of the devastating news.

She was then pictured being taken out of the Beverly Hilton - the same hotel where her mother had died just hours earlier- on a stretcher at 10.30am yesterday and being rushed to Cedars-Sinai where she was treated for extreme anxiety.

She was released several hours later, but friends and family are still very concerned about her mental state.

Crack cocaine user Houston, 48, was found dead under the bath water in luxury suite number 434 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday afternoon, which is said to have been littered with bottles of prescription pills.

Reports vary who found her. Some suggest her aunt Mary Jones discovered her body, while others say it was her hairdresser Tiffanie Dixon.

On Thursday she is said to have gone on a 'wild binge' where she clashed with security guards. The next evening she 'partied heavily, drank and chatted loudly' with friends at the hotel bar.

Bottles of Lorazepam, Valium, Xanax and a sleeping medication were found in the hotel room, it has been claimed.

The drugs were believed to have acted as sedatives, causing her to fall asleep in the bathtub once they had been mixed with alcohol from the previous evenings.

Paramedics battled to revive the singer but she was pronounced dead at 3.55pm, hours before she had been due to perform at a pre-Grammys party at the same hotel.

Los Angeles coroner's office has officially refused to comment on rumours that water was found on her lungs, indicating she had drowned.

It said further details will not be officially released until a police investigation is completed, which may take between one and two months, and revealed no one may visit the body while it is in their custody. But TMZ has reported otherwise.

Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown, with whom she had a notoriously turbulent 14-year relationship riddled with drug use, was in Nashville at the time of her death and his daughter's trips to the hospital.

Brown - whom she blamed partly for her drug issues - was said to be 'in and out of crying fits' upon hearing the news - but still appeared on stage on Saturday with his band New Edition, and cried out 'I love you, Whitney!' in the middle of the concert.

Singer Johnny Gill, one of Brown's New Edition bandmates on tour in Memphis with the star, said: 'Bobby is struggling and he's devastated.'

Brown then cancelled a concert in order to be by Bobbi Kirstina's side and was pictured last night arriving at LAX Airport.

He said: 'I am deeply saddened at the passing of my ex-wife, Whitney Houston.

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.'

Houston's family also released a statement yesterday expressing their grief: 'We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will miss her terribly. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from her fans and friends.'

Celebrities, from singers and rappers to television personalities and business leaders, took to Twitter to express their sadness at the news.

Stars praised the singer's unmatched talent and passed on their wishes to her bereaved family, while others expressed their shock at how the award-winning singer passed away at the age of just 48.

'Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of

my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston,' said Mariah Carey, who recorded the Oscar-winning song When You Believe with the late star in 1998.

'Shocked we've lost the immensely talented Whitney Houston!' wrote fellow singer Gloria Estefan. Rihanna tweeted: 'No words! Just tears. I honestly can't think of anything else!!! Feels so strange being at the Grammy rehearsal right now!!'

Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb added his condolences, saying: 'In my estimation we have lost one of the greatest voices in popular music today...but as we always learn too late....we never cherish it until it's gone. My thoughts are with her family.'

A 'devastated' Mitch Winehouse, the father of late Amy Winehouse who died last year after a public battle with class A drugs, paid tribute on Twitter, writing: 'Amy, Etta, Whitney. Their music will NEVER die. What a great girl group in heaven. Mitch'.

Former Boyzone star Ronan Keating said the severity of the singer's problems had become apparent two years ago at the start of her comeback.

He told Sky: 'I'm devastated. I cannot believe it. It's hard to believe she's gone. Another legend, we've lost another singer, probably the greatest singer the world has ever seen.'

'It's very sad to see the tough times in her life. I saw her two years ago when she was trying to make her comeback and I could see that she was weathered and you could see that she had been through tough time but you could see the voice was still there and she was trying.'

Asked if the music industry does enough to look after vulnerable performers, he said: 'It's about the people you surround yourself with. She really got involved in bad situations and the wrong crowd of people who led her down the wrong road.'

And music mogul Simon Cowell said that before her death he had approached her to ask if she would consider becoming a judge on the next season of the U.S. X-Factor.

He also paid tribute to Ms Houston and said the warning signs that she ‘still had problems’ came after the singer made an erratic appearance on the X Factor in 2009.

The performance was to promote a new album after seven years off the scene.

He said: ‘There are always moments in your life that are horrible to remember.

The day John Lennon died, the day Elvis died. More recently Michael Jackson, last year Amy Winehouse and now Whitney.

'I know quite a few people who had been working with her over the years. We all knew Whitney had issues. I last met her when she came on the X Factor.

You could see at the time there were still a few problems but she was a delight to work with on the day.'

The guest appearance on X Factor - her first UK TV appearance for 12 years - was billed as the start of her comeback but the worrying performance raised concerns for her well being and she suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction when her dress straps snapped.

Miss Houston then embarked on her Nothing But Love World Tour tour in 2010, but the UK leg was beset by cancellations. She was forced to reschedule the first three dates in Manchester and Glasgow after picking up a respiratory infection.

She finally played her first UK gig in 11 years at the Birmingham LG Arena.

The talent show judge told Sky: ‘She probably wasn’t all together but it was still Whitney Houston and you were in the presence of a legend and I will never forget that day.
'There are so few people like her in the world. They are a rarefied breed, these are true superstar legendary divas, but I say diva that in the nicest possible way. She had one of the best voices I heard in my life ever.’

And it was not just the music industry that felt the influence of Houston, with other celebrities expressing their condolences and thanks to the award-winning singer.

One high-profile figure to speak out was Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, who said: 'R.I.P. Whitney Houston. Thank you for the amazing music you brought into the world.'
Whitney Houston's death cast a shadow over the music industry's most prestigious event - last night's Grammys.

Stars lined up to pay tribute to the singer, who had previously won six of the awards, with X-Factor judge Kelly Rowland saying on the red carpet: 'We lost our hero.

'I would not be standing here today if it was not for her. My prayers go out to her mother and her daughter. If we feel this loss, I can only imagine how heavy their loss is.'

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Sources: AP, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Daily Mail, Youtube, Google Maps

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