Whitney Houston’s sudden death at 48 on the eve of the biggest music event of their year may have been a shock to everyone but herself. Police have just begun their investigation, but can’t rule out any outcome, including suicide.
In the hours since her death, theories are beginning to emerge about the circumstances surrounding her death. There is no evidence of foul play, at least that much seems certain, according to reports.
But the prevailing view so far is that she overdosed on prescription drugs and alcohol and drowned while taking a bath. That means her death was either accidental or a suicide. Investigators won’t know for sure, until they can establish other key evidence.
First and foremost, they must determine how much if any alcohol she consumed, how many pills she’d taken and the nature of the drugs. They must also determine whether she drowned or died of cardiac arrest. Those findings will hinge on toxicology tests.
Prescription Pill Bottles Found in Room
Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. Saturday afternoon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Efforts were made to resuscitate her but hotel staff and emergency medical technicians, but she was unresponsive. Houston’s body had been removed from the tub, where she was found under water, by the time authorities arrived.
According to some reports, Houston was taking the prescription drug, Xanax. But the drug is not a sedative. It is a psychotropic drug and is used as a mood stabilizer, although it can produce drowsiness if taken in large quantities.
Some reports claim that Valium and a sleeping medication, possibly Ambien, were also found in the hotel room. Valium is a sedative and could lead to cardiac arrest if taken in large quantities.
Mixed with alcohol, either drug could have caused her to pass out in the tub. She had partied for two straight nights in out-of-control binges before her death, reports claim. She was expected to attend mentor Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy bash at the hotel the evening of her death.
Evidence suggesting a possible suicide include the fact that her room was reportedly strewn with a large number of prescription pill bottles. Houston was also facing significant financial problems, which may have put her under extreme duress.
Houston had also fought an addiction to crack cocaine but the drug is not believed to have played a part in her death.
Whitney Houston Faced Financial Problems
In August 2001, Houston signed a $100 million deal with Arista/BMG, for six new albums. Her last I Look to You was released in August 2009. She was said to be working on another album, but no release date had been set.
Houston’s European comeback tour in support of the album in the summer of 2010 was widely viewed as a bust. Fans were shocked when she appeared in Copenhagen, Denmark looking bloated, sweaty and puffy faced.
In addition to scathing reviews of her concert, Whitney was also criticized for her overweight, unhealthy appearance.
“She looked and sounded like a person who doesn’t have many years left to live. At the end of the show she looked like she was ready to explode,” a local Danish reviewer wrote prophetically.
“Her voice was ruined, and her comeback wasn’t what it was supposed to be, because her voice wasn’t what it used to be,” a close pal of Houston’s told People following her death.
There were reports that houses she owned in New Jersey and Atlanta were arrears on mortgage payments and taxes and were facing foreclosure. But a rep denied the houses were being sold to satisfy debts.