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Whitney Houston Was Found in Hotel Bath, Coroner Confirms

Written by STEVE GORMAN AND R .T. WATSON, REUTERS on 13 February 2012.

WHILTY010LOS ANGELES - Coroners on Sunday completed their autopsy on the body of singer Whitney Houston and confirmed that she was found in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room, but said the cause of death would not be determined until more lab tests were completed. Ed Winter, assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County, revealed little about the autopsy at a news conference, but said medical examiners found no visible signs of trauma or foul play.

He declined to comment on various media reports that Ms. Houston, 48, had drowned in her hotel bathtub, possibly after succumbing to drugs or alcohol. He added, "I'm not going to comment on any of the meds or prescriptions that were obtained."

"I'd just comment that she was found in the bathtub.... I believe somebody removed her from the bathtub and the paramedics did CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] on her."

He said toxicology tests, which would take six to eight weeks to conduct, would be necessary to determine what factor, if any, drugs or alcohol might have played in Ms. Houston's death.

He also said a "security hold" had been placed on the case, as has been done in previous high-profile investigations, to keep further details from being divulged.

Ms. Houston, who enjoyed tremendous professional success but struggled with drug abuse for years, died on Saturday afternoon in a fourth-floor room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. She was at the hotel to attend an annual pre-Grammy gala held that evening by her mentor, record mogul Clive Davis.

The Grammy salute Sunday capped an emotional day for those closest to the pop diva and those who admired her as an entertainer. From the New Jersey church where Houston's singing career first took flight to the hotel where her life abruptly ended, family and fans expressed their grief on Sunday with prayer, tears and raw anguish.

Ms. Houston's only child, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, 18, was taken by paramedics from the hotel to nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Sunday suffering from anxiety, Beverly Hills police and fire officials said.

While the cause of Ms. Houston's death remained undetermined, media reports on Sunday focused on her public behavior in the hours before her death.

The Los Angeles Times said Ms. Houston, dishevelled, sweaty and smelling of alcohol, was behaving erratically when she stopped by the Hilton two days earlier, accompanied by her daughter, for rehearsals.