Whitney Houston’s Cause of Death

Whitney Houston's Cause of Death and Autopsy Report
Learn about Whitney Houston's cause of death and the details of the autopsy report.

Overview of Whitney Houston’s Cause of Death, the Investigation and Autopsy Report

This article provides an overview of the information gathered about the death of singer, actress, and entertainer Whitney Houston. The article summarizes what happened the day she died, the subsequent investigation, and information on Whitney Houston’s Death. Whitney Houston (48), one of the most admired and influential singers of her time, died on February 11th in the fourth-floor room number 434 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California.

Early Life and Rise to Stardom

Born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, Whitney Elizabeth Houston’s musical talent was evident from a young age. Raised in a family deeply rooted in the music industry, Whitney seemed destined for greatness with her mother, Cissy Houston, a renowned gospel singer. Her powerful and soulful voice quickly catapulted her to stardom, earning her a record deal at 19.

Houston’s career reached unparalleled heights in the 1980s and 1990s. With chart-topping hits like “I Will Always Love You,” “Greatest Love of All,” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” she became one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Her success extended beyond music, as she ventured into acting with roles in films like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.”

Whitney Houston’s Personal Struggles

Despite her outward success, Whitney Houston faced a tumultuous personal life. Reports of a rocky marriage to singer Bobby Brown and rumors of substance abuse began to overshadow her career. Houston’s battle with drugs, particularly cocaine, became increasingly public, leading to a decline in her public image.

The years leading up to Houston’s death were marked by erratic behavior, missed performances, and a noticeable deterioration in her once-flawless vocal abilities. Friends, family, and industry insiders attempted interventions and rehab stints, but the grip of addiction proved formidable.

What happened on the day she died?

A member of Houston’s entourage found her unresponsive Saturday afternoon in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and called the authorities. An unnamed source of the case said that Houston was found in the bathtub.

Paramedics from the Beverly Hills Fire Department performed CPR for about 20 minutes before declaring the singer to be dead. Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen said she was at the hotel with a large entourage of family, friends, and co-workers, who were there to attend music industry mogul Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party on Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton.

Coroners removed Whitney Houston’s body from the Beverly Hilton after midnight through the back door to avoid the media mob on the scene. Coroners later conducted an autopsy on Sunday, but no information was released, and they did not determine the official cause of death. If drugs or alcohol were involved, an official cause of death would ultimately not be released until after toxicology tests, which usually take as much as six to eight weeks.

Police said there were no initial signs of foul play, and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office continued its investigation to determine the official cause of death.

Inside her hotel room, investigators found an ashtray on the bathroom counter filled with cigarette butts, a small spoon with a white crystal-like substance, and a rolled-up piece of white paper. An official found remnants of a white powdery substance in one of the bathroom drawers and a portable mirror on a base. In addition, various prescription pill bottles were found in the living room and bedroom of the suite. Additional details will be provided on the death investigation as it unfolds.

Whitney Houston’s Troubled Past

An increasingly troubled personal life accompanied Houston’s success as a singer and actress. Unfortunately, the pop star struggled with both drug and alcohol problems for many years. In 1992, she married singer Bobby Brown, and their marriage was continuously scarred by drug abuse and domestic violence. The last decade of her life was filled with drug use, relapses, and trips to rehab. According to her spokesperson, the singer/actress was in rehab as recently as May 2011.

Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office Releases Whitney Houston’s Autopsy Report

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office released a final autopsy report on the death of singer and actress Whitney Houston, who was found dead in her hotel room on February 11th, 2012.  According to the coroner’s autopsy report, the official cause of death was an “accidental drowning,” and heart disease and chronic cocaine use were contributing factors in her death. 

No foul play was suspected, although a rape detection kit was used at the crime scene as a matter of department protocol.  The LA county coroner’s report showed that she had traces of cocaine, marijuana, and several prescription medications in her system at the time of her death.

The thorough autopsy report also revealed that the singer has a “perforation of posterior nasal septum” (basically a hole in her nose) and McGhan breast implants (size: 230 ccs). The autopsy image reports also showed that Houston had numerous scars on her body and several areas of “skin slippage.”  The autopsy report also revealed that she had upper dental implants.

Whitney Houston Died From Accidental Drowning, Autopsy Finds

The official cause of death is that the entertainer died from drowning in a hotel bathtub.  The coroner’s office officials added that heart disease and chronic cocaine use contributed to her death.

The release of the autopsy results ended many weeks of speculation about what killed the Grammy-winning singer on February 11, 2012, the day before the Grammy Awards. Houston was found submerged in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and her death has been officially ruled accidental. Several bottles of prescription medications with pills were found in her hotel room, but coroner’s officials said they weren’t in excessive quantities.

Further toxicology reports also suggested the presence of other drugs in her system, including Xanax, Benadryl, Flexeril, and marijuana. While the consequences of the fatal cocktail were a significant contributor to her demise, the death was more or less accidental. Whitney had not intended to die. The initial investigation of the suite did not indicate any criminal intent, and considering her struggle with drug addiction, it is believed that all substances were self-administered.

Other Possible Explanations for Her Death

In December of that year, a private investigator claimed that he found evidence of Houston’s death being staged and was not an accident. The investigator previously believed she owed about $1.5 million to two high-powered drug dealers who infiltrated her entourage. It was also speculated that the two men entered her suite within an hour before her death and that this activity was caught on the hotel’s surveillance footage. The wounds found on her body were also speculated to have been self-defense wounds and not accidents, as mentioned in the coroner’s report. None of these claims have been substantiated, but the conspiracy theory lives on.

Burial and last rites

Whitney was buried at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark in a private invitation-only funeral that included tribute acts from Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, CeCe Winans, R Kelly, and Kim Burrell. Other personalities who attended the service to mourn Whitney Houston’s death include Clive Davis and Kevin Costner. At the same time, her godmother, Aretha Franklin, and her ex-husband Bobby Brown could not attend.

Her Legacy

Whitney Houston’s death not only marked the loss of an extraordinary talent but also highlighted the challenges faced by individuals in the spotlight. Her legacy endures through her timeless music, but her tragic end serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of fame and the destructive impact of substance abuse.

In the wake of her passing, the music industry reflected on the need for greater support and understanding for artists grappling with personal challenges. Whitney Houston’s story reminds us that behind the glamour and success, there may be individuals silently battling their demons, and it emphasizes the importance of empathy and intervention in the face of addiction and mental health struggles.

Related Information

Get the scoop on more celebrity drama in our Celebrity Investigations section. I also read about her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, who died of a tragic drug overdose a few years later.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.


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