Singer Whitney Houston's official cause of death was announced Thursday, more than a month after the 48-year-old singer was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Los Angeles County coroner stated that Houston died of accidental drowning, with contributing factors of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine in her system.
ABC News reported: Ed Winter, spokesman for the Los Angeles cororner's office, told ABCNews.com that the singer's cause of death was drowning aggravated by a pre-existing heart condition called atherosclerotic heart disease. Cocaine was also found in her system, but the coroner's office refused to comment on how much of the drug was found during the toxicology testing. But in the official report under the category 'HOW INJURY OCCURRED' it is noted that the singer was 'found submerged in bathtub filled with water; cocaine intake.'
Atherosclerotic Heart Disease
What is atherosclerotic heart disease?
Atherosclerotic heart disease involves a buildup of plaque that causes the narrowing of tiny blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, ABC reported via information from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This condition can lead to heart attack, stroke and death.
The NHLBI states that atherosclerotic heart disease can affect any artery of the body and different disease can develop in those locations. It is unknown where Whitney Houston's problem area was or how long the singer had this condition. The cause of the disease is also unknown, but some risk factors can be controlled such as lack of physical activity, smoking and a poor diet.
Improved treatments have reduced the number of deaths from atherosclerosis-related diseases. These treatments also have improved the quality of life for people who have these diseases. However, atherosclerosis remains a common health problem, reports the NHLBI.
Along with this pre-existing condition, cocaine found in Whitney Houston's system was deemed to have contributed to her death. Marijuana, Xanax, flexeril (muscle relaxant) and diphenhydramine (benadryl) were also found. But these drugs did not contribute to her cause of death, the coroner said.
Houston's family responded to the news with the following statement: We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure, said Patricia Houston, Whitney's business manager and sister-in-law.
Whitney Houston was found submerged in the hotel bathtub on Feb. 11, before Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party.
Her Battle with Drugs
The singer battled drug abuse for more than a decade.
In 2000, security at an airport in Hawaii found marijuana in both Houston's and then-husband Bobby Brown's luggage. In a notorious 2002 interview, Houston discussed the drug use. First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. Okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack, she said to Diane Sawyer.
In 2003, Brown was charged with misdemeanor battery after he allegedly hit Houston after a heated fight. Yet the couple stayed together and, in 2005, they appeared on the reality show Being Bobby Brown. The show revealed a trainwreck lifestyle. It highlighted the sheer dysfunction of the family unit, and Houston herself admitted that.
The public began to seriously worry.
In a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Houston discussed the troubled marriage. She said that she and Brown would smoke marijuana laced with cocaine. They would sit next to each other for days, hardly speaking, because they were both so stoned. We weren't buying, like, $20 jumbos; we were paying money, we were buying, like, an ounce...We weren't doing, like, pipe smoking, we didn't get that far. You put your marijuana, you lace it (with cocaine), you roll it up and you smoke it in your weed. ... It's almost like heroin and cocaine speed-balling, but you level it off with the marijuana, she said.
I was losing me into [the marriage], she said. by trying to be pleasing. She said that she did not do things by herself; she did everything with him.
I was so weak to him. I was so weak to the love, she said. He was my drug. I didn't do anything without him. I wasn't getting high by myself. It was me and him, together. We were partners.
Many blamed Brown for this shocking downfall. Bobby Brown you took our diva and turned her into an addict, one fan wrote on Facebook.
People like to blame Bobby Brown, but she was this way before Bobby, Ian Drew, senior editor of Us Weekly magazine, told ABC. She drank and had all these problems before Bobby. He didn't take this pristine doll and turn her into the bride of Chuckie. She talked like she did on his reality show, 'Being Bobby Brown.'