In late November Murphy was reportedly removed from her role on a movie, The Caller, that was being filed in Puerto Rico. In early December, Murphy's husband, screenwriter Simon Monjack, returned to LAX from Puerto Rico and was taken by paramedics to a hospital for an ailment related to asthma or maybe something "more serious," according to TMZ. Following the news of her departure from the movie project, the Dec. 5 episode of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" included a spoof of Murphy.
TMZ reports, however, that the 32-year-old might have been sick with flu-like symptoms and had vomited in the hours before paramedics were called to her home at 8 a.m. Sunday in the 1800 block of Rising Glen Road in hills above the Sunset Strip. She was reported to be in full cardiac arrest when rescuers arrived.
Murphy was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was declared dead at 10:04 a.m. The county coroner's office stated it would perform an autopsy Monday or Tuesday, but Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told reporters at the scene the cause of Murphy's death "appears to be natural" for now.
In a 2005 interview with now-defunct Jane magazine, a writer asked if Murphy's skinny appearance had anything to do with cocaine use. She responded (via X17):
"Just for the record I have never tried it in my entire life, I've never even seen it, and I don't leave the house too much, except to go to work. My worst vice is caffeine. [The rumor is] really pretty darn far-fetched -- it couldn't be further from the truth. I have known people over the course of my life that have bad problems with drugs, and it's something really serious."
"I am also way too high-strung," she stated. "I can't even take a Sudafed. Can you imagine? My God. I think my heart would explode. I mean, literally something terrible. That's awful."
Murphy was a teen actress who broke out in the high-school movie Clueless in 1995 before going on to appear in Girl, Interrupted, Don't Say a Word and 8 Mile. She also starred in the Fox animated series King of the Hill as Luanne. KTLA News entertainment journalist Sam Rubin reported Sunday night that Murphy passed with five films "in the can" and yet-to-be released.
Raised in New Jersey and the Los Angeles area, her father is a self-declared retired mobster. Her mother brought her to the region so she could act.
On Sunday former boyfriend Aston Kutcher sent his condolences via Twitter: "2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine," he wrote.