LOS ANGELES (AP) — Whitney Houston was found face-down in a bathtub with cocaine in her system and drug paraphernalia on the bathroom counter nearby, investigators revealed in the singer's final autopsy report released Wednesday.
The report delivered a grim accounting of Houston's final hours nearly three months ago. The singer complained of a sore throat before an assistant suggested she take a bath before the start of a pre-Grammy Awards gala. By the time the assistant returned, Houston had drowned and was lying face down in the tub.
Investigators who scoured the room later found in the bathroom a "spoon with a white crystal like substance in it," and a white powdery substance in a drawer and on a mirror, according the report. The report does not specifically identify the substances as cocaine, although toxicology tests discovered the drug in Houston's heart and extremities.
The report provides a sad footnote to Houston's life, revealing the toll the singer's drug use took on her body.
When coroner's officials said two weeks ago that Houston died from accidental drowning, they also revealed that cocaine had played a role in her death. The office has said there were signs of both chronic and recent use.
An investigator noted a hole in the singer's nose, listed under "history of substance abuse."
Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said he could not discuss how recently Houston may have used cocaine, or other details of the final report.
Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen said the investigation is still open and he could not comment on the findings. The department has said there did not appear to be signs of foul play.
On her final day alive, Houston complained she had a sore throat for several days, and an assistant suggested she take a bath, according to the report. By the time her assistant returned, Houston had been submerged for at least an hour, the report estimates.
Water soaked the floor, seeping into the bedroom area.
Investigators initially expected drugs or alcohol played a role in Houston's death, but no alcohol was found in her system. They eventually ruled her death an accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use cited as contributing factors.
Houston's death came just hours before a pre-Grammy gala thrown by her mentor Clive Davis. She was attempting another comeback by starring in a remake of the film "Sparkle," in which she plays the mother of three girls who form a singing group and struggle with fame and drug addiction.
A trailer released Monday featured Houston prominently, including a snippet of her performance of the classic gospel song "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."
Toxicology results also showed Houston had marijuana, Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril, and the allergy medication Benadryl in her system. None of those drugs were considered factors in her death.
The singer also had buildup of plaque in her arteries that can restrict blood flow. Winter has said the condition is common in drug users. The report indicated a 60 percent blockage in the singer's right coronary artery.
The singer had battled addiction for years, but friends and family have said she appeared committed to making a comeback in the months before her death.
"The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 television interview with then-husband Bobby Brown by her side.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at https://twitter.com/mccartneyAP .
- Whitney Houston