The Los Angeles County Department of Coroner has determined that the 'Million Dollar Bill' singer died of accidental drowning due to the effects of heart disease and cocaine use.
The official cause of Whitney Houston's death has finally been released, and her family has shared their reaction. As it was uncovered that cocaine was a contributing factor to the "Heartbreak Hotel" singer's death, sister-in-law and former manager Patricia Houston said in a statement, "We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure."
On Thursday, March 22, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner revealed that Houston died from accidental drowning with atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use being the contributing factors. The toxicology tests also showed traces of marijuana, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and the allergy medicine Benadryl, but they did not contribute to her death.
Coroner chief Craig Harvey told PEOPLE, "There was water found in her lungs that indicated to us that she was alive when she was submerged underwater." He added, "According to our tests, the level of cocaine was not necessarily a lethal level of cocaine. But her death was complicated by chronic cocaine use and heart disease."
Since officials determined that "no trauma or foul play is suspected" in Houston's death, coroner assistant chief Ed Winter offered two possible scenarios that led to her slipping underwater. "She could've passed out first due to the intoxication from the cocaine, or she could've had a heart attack and then drowned," he said. "It's probably one of those two scenarios."
Houston, who was married to Bobby Brown for nearly five years before divorcing in 2007, passed away on February 11. She was found underwater and unconscious in bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, just hours before she's set to attend Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party. Back in 2002, she admitted to using cocaine as well as marijuana.