Whitney Houston was found dead in the bath of her Beverly Hills hotel room, it has been confirmed – but reports in the US suggest she may have taken an overdose of prescription drugs and did not drown.
Deputy LA coroner Ed Winter said the post-mortem examination on the singer’s body had been completed but the cause of death would not be determined until toxicology tests were completed.
That could take up to eight weeks, he said.
“I know there were reports of did she drown or was it an overdose? But I will not be commenting on that,” Mr Winter added.
While foul play is not suspected, a “security hold” has been placed on the case, as has been done in previous high-profile investigations, to keep further details from being disclosed.
Celebrity news website TMZ is reporting Houston, 48, did not die from drowning but a suspected “combination of Xanax and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol”.
Law enforcement officials found prescription drugs used to treat anxiety, including Valium, Xanax and Lorazepam, in her room at the Beverly Hills Hilton, the showbiz gossip website Radar Online also reports.
Mr Winter would not be drawn on the rumours, saying: “I’m not going to comment on any of the meds or prescriptions that were obtained.”
TMZ said LA coroner’s officials have told the pop star’s family there was not enough water in her lungs “to lead to the conclusion that she drowned”.
Houston may have died before her head slipped under the water, the website claims.
The singer’s death overshadowed the annual Grammy music awards, with host LL Cool J offering a prayer for Houston, her family and fans.
“Although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed by her musical spirit,” he said.
Houston died hours before she was expected to perform at her longtime mentor, record producer Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party, which is held at the Beverly Hilton.
Houston on American TV in 2009
She won six Grammy awards, two Emmys and 22 American Music awards and 30 Billboard awards as her successful career spanned three decades.
But for many years Houston struggled with drug addiction and financial problems.
Police said Houston was found in the hotel room by a member of her entourage.
Paramedics worked to revive Houston, but were unsuccessful and the singer was pronounced dead shortly before 4pm on Saturday local time.
Meanwhile, Houston’s 18-year-old daughter has been released from a Los Angeles hospital after she was taken by ambulance from the hotel where her mother died.
A source close to the family was reported as saying Bobbi Kristina Brown was treated for stress and anxiety.
TMZ said she had to be held back by police from entering the hotel room.
Earlier, Houston’s family expressed their grief in a brief statement, saying: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will miss her terribly.
“We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from her fans and friends.”
The singer’s ex-husband Bobby Brown said he was “deeply saddened” by her death.