Clear61° WeatherClear61° Weather

Whitney Houston was underwater in tub, authorities say

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Whitney Houston was underwater and apparently unconscious when she was pulled from a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub, and she had prescription drugs in her room, authorities said Monday.

Two days after her death, Houston's body was taken to a Los Angeles-area airport to be flown to New Jersey, where her family was making arrangements for a funeral at the end of the week.

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

The 48-year-old singer had struggled for years with cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her behavior had become erratic.

Houston was found Saturday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel by a member of her staff about 3:30 p.m., just hours before she was supposed to appear at a pre-Grammy Awards gala, 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.

"As of right now, it's not a criminal investigation," Rosen said, declining to release further details. "We have concluded our portion of the investigation at the hotel."

Los Angeles County coroner's assistant chief Ed Winter said there were bottles of prescription medicine in the room. He would not give details except to say: "There weren't a lot of prescription bottles. You probably have just as many prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet."

The coroner's office released the body to the family Monday morning. Later, a police convoy accompanied two vehicles into a Van Nuys Airport hangar, and a private, twin-engine jet rolled out of the hangar and took off shortly after 3 p.m.

Two people who spoke with Houston's family said the singer would be taken to New Jersey.

The two, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak for the family, said Houston's relatives raised the possibility of a wake Thursday and a funeral Friday at Newark's Prudential Center, an arena that can seat about 18,000 people.

Houston was born in Newark and raised in nearby East Orange. She began singing as a child at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church, where her mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston, led the music program for many years.

Whitney Houston was underwater in tub, authorities say 02/13/12 [Last modified: Monday, February 13, 2012 11:06pm]

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...