Whitney Houston Drowned, But Cocaine Played Role in Her Death: Heart Attack Likely

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Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 3:13 PM
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Updated at the bottom: She likely had a heart attack. First posted at 2:28 p.m.

L.A. County coroner's investigators say Whitney Houston drowned when she died at the Beverly Hilton hotel last month. LA Weekly was the first outlet to report that she might have been found in a bathtub, which she was.

The coroner also says that cocaine and atherosclerotic heart disease were contributing factors to her death.

Coke wasn't the only death they found in her system:

Marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were also found in her system "but did not contribute to the death," according to the coroner's office.

The coroner's office said a final report on her death would be released in about two weeks.

Press Release _ 2012-01022

Houston's body was found in her Beverly Hilton hotel room Feb. 11. She was planning to attend the annual pre-Grammy party of music industry mogul Clive Davis.

Reports indicated she was partying and acting erratically in the days leading up to her death.

[Update at 2:44 p.m.]: Coroner's assistant Chief Ed Winter tells the Weekly that Houston likely had a heart attack as a result of the cocaine use and previous heart issues and then drown.

If you use some cocaine and you have a bad heart it can cause you to have a heart attack which can cause you to go underwater. She had a history of heart problems ... cardiovascular disease, and she had been using cocaine.

Did she have a heart attack, we ask.

Well, yeah.

[Update at 3:13 p.m.]:

So what is "atherosclerotic heart disease?" According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, it's ...

... a disease in which plaque (plak) builds up inside your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body.

Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body.

Atherosclerosis can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death.

We would assume then, if you have this, cocaine isn't the remedy but, more likely, your enemy.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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