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Houston found underwater in hotel bathtub, authorities say

Investigators collected several bottles of prescription drugs from Whitney Houston's suite at the Beverly Hilton. Detectives are still piecing together the last hours of the singer's life and are awaiting toxicology results.

February 14, 2012|By Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
  • Fans hold a vigil for pop singer Whitney Houston at Leimert Park in Los Angeles. About 150 people attended the event, which included singing and dancing to Houston's songs.
Fans hold a vigil for pop singer Whitney Houston at Leimert Park in Los Angeles.… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

Whitney Houston was found underwater in the bathtub of a Beverly Hills hotel suite, authorities said Monday as they continued to investigate her death, including examining prescription drugs found in her room.

Authorities have collected several bottles of drugs from Houston's suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, law enforcement sources told The Times. But the sources stressed that the amount of drugs did not seem unusually large, and it remained unclear whether the drugs had anything to do with her death.

Investigators are expected to speak to Houston's medical team as they try to learn of any underlying medical conditions she might have had. In previous high-profile death investigations, officials have inventoried confiscated medications and interviewed those who prescribed the drugs. When Michael Jackson died, authorities spent weeks sorting out his large cache of prescription drugs.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston | 1963-2012

That probe ended with criminal charges being filed against Jackson's physician, Conrad Murray. But Beverly Hills police said Monday that they have no plans to launch a criminal investigation and don't consider the case a homicide.

Both the Beverly Hills Police Department and the Los Angeles County coroner's office continued to interview friends and family and collect evidence as they investigate the cause of the pop star's death.

Detectives are still trying to piece together the last hours of Houston's life and are awaiting toxicology results, according to the law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

After Houston was found Saturday afternoon, Beverly Hills Fire Department paramedics performed CPR on the singer for about 20 minutes before pronouncing her dead, officials said.

Houston struggled with drug and alcohol problems for years, and last May her spokeswoman said the singer was going back into rehab.

She was in Beverly Hills for music industry titan Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party Saturday night at the Hilton. During the preceding days, she had made several public appearances. At times she was said to have been acting strangely, skipping around a ballroom and doing handstands near the hotel pool. Houston reportedly greeted people with a warm smile but at times appeared disheveled in mismatched clothes and with her hair dripping wet.

On Thursday, she dropped by the rehearsals for the pre-Grammy party. A Grammy staffer said that as reporters interviewed Davis and singers Brandy and Monica, Houston was dancing just off camera to make them laugh. Grammy personnel expressed concern that she would be caught on camera and that reporters would write about her behavior.

Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner's office, said Monday that there were no obvious signs of trauma on Houston's body.

"The investigation is ongoing," Winter said at a news conference. "It's too early to tell."

Houston's body is expected to be transported by private jet from Los Angeles to her hometown of Newark, N.J..

Funeral services are tentatively scheduled for Friday at the Prudential Center in Newark, family members told the Newark Star-Ledger.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston | 1963-2012

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

richard.winton@latimes.com

Los Angeles Times staff writer Dalina Castellanos contributed to this report.

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