Whitney Houston death: Autopsy report cites 'white powdery substance,' 'extremely hot' bath
Whitney Houston died face down and naked inside a bathtub filled with "extremely hot" water in a Beverly Hills hotel bathroom, which also contained "remnants of a white, powdery substance," according to an autopsy report released on Wednesday, April 4, almost two months after her death.
The 48-year-old Grammy-winning pop star died on February 11 and a toxicology report had said her death was caused by accidental drowning, spurred by cocaine use and a pre-existing heart condition. Houston had battled substance abuse for years. The Los Angeles County Coroner's autopsy report cited cocaine levels of .58 micrograms per milliliter found in blood drawn from her leg, indicating a moderate amount. An official had told OnTheRedCarpet.com's and other outlets last month that she likely used the drug just before she died.
Marijuana, which is legal in California if used for medicinal purposes, the anti-anxiety prescription medication Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and Benadryl, used to treat symptoms of allergies, such as a runny nose, were also found in her system. The report said a "bloody purge was coming out of her nose" after her death. There were no signs of foul play. Alcohol was not detected in her system.
Houston was last seen alive by her assistant just before 3 p.m. The singer "complained of having a sore throat that had been lingering for the past few days" and her assistant told her to take a bath to prepare for a pre-Grammy party set take place in the hotel that evening. It was held as scheduled, while investigators worked inside her room on the fourth floor.
The assistant left to "pick up items at Neiman Marcus" and when she returned, she saw Houston "lying face down in the bathtub, unresponsive." She and a bodyguard pulled her out and the assistant ordered that 911 be called. Paramedics tried to revive Houston and pronounced her dead at 3:46 p.m.
Six hours later, investigators measured the water temperature to be 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit, calling it "extremely hot." "Yellow-brown" marks were found on her forehead, left eyebrow and nose and were said to have been inflicted at the time of her death or just afterwards.
Investigators scoured her hotel room that evening and found on top of a counter in the bathroom a "small spoon with a white crystal-like substance in it and a rolled up piece of white paper," a bottle of prescription medications, a ripped, small plastic bag and an ashtray with several cigarette butts.
Inside the counter's top drawer were "remnants of a white, powdery substance and a portable mirror on a base," which contained more of the unidentified matter on its bottom.
The autopsy report stated that Houston had a "perforation," or hole," in the posterior nasal septum" inside her nose, which contained a "bloody purge." Nasal septum perforations can be caused by use of cocaine or over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays.
A "plethora of prescription medication bottles" prescribed to Houston were found in the room, the report says. A coroner's office official had revealed last month that the amounts were too small to have contributed to Houston's death.
Houston was 5"6' tall, weighed 151 pounds and was described as "well built, muscular and fairly well nourished." She suffered from hemorrhagic ovarian cysts, a mostly post-menopausal ailment often treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.
She had no tattoos and wore a brown wig. She had dental implants and a prosthesis over her upper teeth, two piercings in each ear and breast implants. Houston died wearing a ring with white stones and a matching bracelet with a cross.