LOS 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 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 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.
The coroner’s briefing came as the Grammy Awards opened a few miles away at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where rapper-actor LL Cool J payed tribute to the late pop star just after the start of the star-studded music show.
“We’ve had a death in our family and so at least for me … the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman we loved, for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston,” he said.
His brief prayer was followed by a clip of Houston singing her hit, “I Will Always Love You,” as the crowd responded with a standing ovation.
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.
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.
A fire department spokeswoman declined to disclose any information about the daughter’s medical condition but said she was “awake and talking” at the time she was transported.
Brown, who was reported by celebrity news website TMZ.com as being enraged at authorities for not being allowed into the hotel room where her mother’s body was found, was treated at the hospital for stress and released, a source close to the family told Reuters. A hospital spokeswoman declined comment.
CNN reported that Houston’s ex-husband, R&B singer Bobby Brown, canceled a long-scheduled performance in Nashville, Tennessee, with his former band, New Edition, to fly back to Los Angeles and attend to the couple’s daughter.