New York Post

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Clues hint at pill-pop Whitney’s drowning; police could release new details today

Posted 2/12/12


Authorities yesterday were investigating the possibility that troubled singer Whitney Houston took sedatives, fell asleep and drowned in a tub in her Beverly Hills hotel room.

Police may release more details about Houston’s death today.

The tragic 48-year-old star spent the final hours of her life preparing for an appearance at a pre-Grammy party Saturday evening, and might have popped the pills to take the edge off her anxiety.

The prescription drugs Xanax, Lorazepam and Valium were found in her suite, Room 434, at the posh Beverly Hilton, one report said.

With her hairdresser, stylist and at least two bodyguards outside the door to her bathroom, the singer appeared to have slid down in the tub. She was found with her face submerged, reported.

A coroner’s autopsy shows there was water in her lungs, the site said.

The singer had talked to her mother, singer Cissy Houston, by phone about a half-hour before her body was found, and “nothing seemed unusual,’’ one source said.

A few hours before that, Houston had also spoken to her famed cousin, Dionne Warwick, and they made “sure they were sitting at the same table at [music mogul] Clive [Davis’] party,’’ the source said.

At around 3:30 p.m., Houston’s female hairdresser became concerned about the star being in the bathroom for more than an hour, TMZ reported. The worker went in, spotted Houston’s body and screamed.

The screams alerted Houston’s stylist and at least two bodyguards who rushed in, it said. When paramedics arrived, they tried for 20 minutes to revive her before she was declared dead, authorities said.

A “a plethora of [the] sedatives’’ were later found in the room, RadarOnline reported.

The coroner has yet to determine an official cause of death. Police blocked the immediate release of any details, reportedly until a toxicology report is finished.

Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen said that his agency may release more details Monday about Houston’s death, but it will depend on whether detectives feel comfortable releasing any information.

Security holds on autopsy results are used in some high-profile Los Angeles cases, with Michael Jackson’s results being withheld for weeks while detectives pieced together the circumstances of his death in June 2009. Toxicology results are frequently necessary before the coroner will release an official cause of death.

Houston, who had battled drug addiction for years, had been spotted boozing it up and looking “completely out of it’’ at the Playhouse Nightclub a little over a week ago.

Then Thursday, she crashed a rehearsal with Davis and singers Brandy and Monica — who were set to appear at Davis’ party — reeking of booze, sweat and cigarettes and with her hair wet, one witness said.

Asked about her wet hair, Houston replied, “I went swimming. I do two hours a day.”

That night, Houston and her 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, partied hard at the Tru Hollywood club, with the star jumping up onstage at one point with Kelly Price to sing “Jesus Loves Me.’’ It was to be her final public performance.

Distraught relatives and friends received two scares involving Bobbi Kristina after her mother’s shocking death.

Bobbi, Houston’s daughter with singer Bobby Brown, was first taken to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at around 11 p.m. Saturday because she was overwrought with grief, sources said. The inconsolable teen was then briefly hospitalized again yesterday.

She had been hanging out in the hotel’s lobby when her mother’s body was discovered, according to People magazine.

Hearing that something was terribly wrong upstairs, Bobbi “was screaming, ‘What’s wrong with her? What’s wrong with her?’ ” a source said.

The teen rushed to her mom’s room and fought with police when they refused to let her in.

Nine hours passed before Houston’s body was removed from her room. During that time, Davis, 79, proceeded with the party downstairs.

“I’m personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me,” Davis told the crowd, ending his speech with, “Now, ladies and gentlemen, let the music begin.’’

Bobby Brown, who did a show in Mississippi Saturday after learning of his ex-wife’s death, last night skipped a concert in Nashville to rush to his daughter’s side.

He landed in Los Angeles last night, looking as if he had been crying, and said nothing.