'Houston and Jackson got drugs from same source'
Jennifer Hudson reacts after performing 'I Will Always Love You' as a tribute to the late Whitney Houston (above left) at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Getty
The source of Whitney Houston's extensive supply of prescription drugs was the focus of growing scrutiny last night, as detectives in Los Angeles continued their efforts to establish what caused her sudden death.
Police called to the 48-year-old singer's suite at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Saturday afternoon are reported to have recovered several bottles of pills, many of them empty or half-empty, from the bathroom where her body was discovered.
The Los Angeles coroner, Ed Winter, confirmed initial reports that Ms Houston had been found unconscious in a bathtub by one of her make-up artists. "I'd just comment that she was found in the bathtub," he told a press conference. "I believe somebody removed her from the bathtub and the paramedics did CPR on her."
A post-mortem has been completed and Ms Houston's body has been cleared for release to her family, he said. There are no obvious signs of trauma or foul play, but no official cause of death will be released until after toxicology tests have been completed, a process likely to take six to eight weeks.
Mr Winter did little to dampen speculation about the role medication, illegal drugs and alcohol may have played in the singer's death. "I'm not going to comment on the meds or prescriptions that were obtained" by detectives who had searched Ms Houston's room, he said.
Earlier, the tabloid website TMZ had reported that a range of painkillers and sedatives, including Xanax, Ibuprofen, Amoxicillin and Midol, were recovered from the scene.
Some had been obtained from the Mickey Fine clinic in Beverly Hills, a location famous for supplying the late Michael Jackson with much of his personal supply of medication.
Detectives said they could not yet speculate on the cause of Ms Houston's death.
"She was underwater and apparently unconscious," Beverly Hills police said in the statement. "Ms Houston was pulled from the tub by members of her staff and hotel security was promptly notified."
There was a poignant reminder of her loss to the entertainment industry last night when it emerged that the troubled singer had left behind two new songs and a movie performance that insiders say would have been "a big, big comeback" for her this year.
The star had finally realised her dream of producing a remake of the cult musical film 'Sparkle', in which she plays the overbearing mother of three singing sisters whose group is torn apart by drugs and domestic abuse.
Sony said yesterday that the movie, which was filmed in Detroit last year, will come out as planned in the summer, along with a soundtrack that features Ms Houston's final studio recordings. Ms Houston had already begun pre-publicity for its release.
The coroner must establish whether she died from accidental drowning or was killed by an event such as a heart attack before slipping under the water. Detectives will also scrutinise Ms Houston's behaviour in the days leading up to her death.
Her death on Saturday afternoon, hours before a pre-Grammy party, overshadowed Sunday night's awards, which included several moving tributes. A funeral is expected to be held in the coming days in Ms Houston's native New Jersey. (©Independent News Service)