Remembering the pop queen

Cocaine, Heart Disease to Blame in Whitney Houston's Death: Coroner

Drowning ruled accidental, according to report released Thursday

By Olsen Ebright and Irene Moore
|  Thursday, Mar 22, 2012  |  Updated 10:42 PM PDT
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The LA County Coroner's Office on Thursday released the results of Whitney Houston's toxicology report. NBC4's Patrick Healy reports.

Patrick Healy & Sean Browning

The LA County Coroner's Office on Thursday released the results of Whitney Houston's toxicology report. NBC4's Patrick Healy reports.

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Whitney Houston Dies of Accidental Drowning: Coroner

The coroner blamed Whitney Houston's death on an accidental drowning, adding that drugs and heart disease also contributed to her death. Gordon Tokumatsu reports.

Whitney Houston Autopsy Explained

Whitney Houston died of an accidental drowning partially to blame on heart disease and cocaine, the coroner's office said. Dr. Bruce Hensel breaks down three possible reasons for why the pop star passed.
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Legendary singer Whitney Houston died of an accidental drowning partially to blame on heart disease, cocaine and metabolites, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner.

Complete Coverage: Whitney Houston 1963-2012 | Coroner's Statement (PDF)

The coroner's office released its report Thursday afternoon, calling the 48-year-old's death accidental. Houston was found dead by a member of her entourage on Feb. 11 in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

"It appeared that the cocaine had been used in the time period just probably immediately prior to her collapse in the bath tub at the hotel," Coroner's Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said.

Harvey said the singer suffered a "cardiac event."

"A 60 percent artery narrowing resulted in the finding of a heart condition. That condition, combined with chronic cocaine use, exacerbated the fact that she died of accidental drowning," Harvey said.

In addition to cocaine and metabolites found in the singer's system, the coroner also identified traces of marijuana, Xanax (anti-anxiety), Flexeril (muscle relaxant) and Benadryl (antihistamine), although they did not contribute to her death, according to the report.

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

After the singer's death, investigators issued subpoenas for records of her medical prescriptions, apparently pursuing the possibility that prescription abuse was a factor in her sudden death.

Prescription bottles were found in Houston's room at the Beverly Hilton hotel, investigators said. However, after weeks of rigorous lab work, the coroner's report indicates that prescription drugs do not appear to have played a significant role in the singer's death.

On the day of her death, Houston had planned on attending Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party. Her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was at the hotel at the time of Houston's death.

A final report is expected to be released within the next two weeks.

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