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Whitney Houston death investigation may take weeks

February 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
An autopsy was performed on Whitney Houston on Sunday, but the exact cause of death may not be known for weeks.

Comment on Whitney Houston's death on ABC7 Eyewitness News' Facebook wall.

Ed Winter, assistant chief for the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, said they will not release any information on the singer's autopsy at the request of police detectives investigating her death.

However, Winter said there were no signs of trauma or foul play.

Toxicology tests looking for illegal and prescription drugs in her system will be conducted, but they could take weeks to complete, Winter said.

Houston was found unresponsive in a bathtub in a Beverly Hilton hotel room Saturday. She was pronounced dead in her room just before 4 p.m. at the age of 48.

The coroner removed Houston's body from the room early Sunday morning.

A source told Eyewitness News that prescription pill bottles were found in the pop star's hotel room at the time of her death. The singer had a public battle with drugs. In 2009, Houston admitted to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney," the Houston family said in a statement released Sunday. "This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will miss her terribly. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from her fans and friends."

Read celebrity reactions of Whitney Houston's death.

Houston's death came as the music industry prepared for its biggest night of the year, the Grammy Awards.

The Grammys was transformed into a Houston memorial, where attendees celebrated the pop star and the show hurriedly assembled a last-minute tribute.

"We've had a death in our family," said host LL Cool J, who then led the crowd in a prayer.

Jennifer Hudson, the actress and "American Idol" finalist, performed a tribute to Houston.

Houston had presented Hudson with her first Grammy. Houston was a six-time Grammy winner herself.

Houston was scheduled to perform Saturday night at her longtime mentor Clive Davis' annual concert at the Beverly Hilton. Davis went ahead with the gala and dedicated it to her.

Grammy award-winning artist Alicia Keys consoled Davis outside the hotel Saturday night.

She later performed at the pre-Grammy party and shared with the crowd about the time she first fell in love with Houston. Keys said Houston was one of her biggest music inspirations and will truly be missed.

Houston had been at rehearsals for the show on Thursday, coaching singers Brandy and Monica, according to a person who was at the event but was not authorized to speak publicly about it. The person said Houston looked disheveled, was sweating profusely and liquor and cigarettes could be smelled on her breath.

On Friday, Houston performed at a pre-Grammys party at Tru Hollywood nightclub in Hollywood.

Houston sang the gospel classic "Jesus Loves Me" with Grammy nominee Kelly Price. The host of the event said she was in a good mood and surrounded by friends and family, including daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown.

The 18 year old was taken from the Beverly Hilton hotel on Sunday morning in an ambulance and was admitted to a hospital for anxiety and stress. She was later released.

See photos of Whitney Houston celebrating at Tru Hollywood Nightclub.

On Sunday, ex-husband Bobby Brown released a statement on Houston's death: "I am deeply saddened at the passing of my ex-wife, Whitney Houston. At this time, we ask for privacy, especially for my daughter, Bobbi-Kristina. I appreciate all of the condolences that have been directed towards my family and I at this most difficult time."

There was a tearful reaction from Brown when he heard news of her death Saturday night. As he was set to perform in Mississippi, Brown told the sold-out crowd, "I would like to say, I love you Whitney. The hardest thing for me to do is to come on this stage."

Brown arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday night to be with his daughter.

Houston and Brown were married in 1992 and divorced in 2007. Many critics blamed Houston's drug use and her tumultuous marriage for her downfall.

See photos of Whitney Houston throughout the years.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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