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Arts and Entertainment

Coroner: Whitney Houston Did Not Drown in Bathtub, Family Can Collect Her Body

Photo of Whitney Houston in 2009 during a "comeback" concert performance by asterix611 via Flickr
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The family of singer Whitney Houston has been told the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office no longer needs to hold her body, and they are free to collect her remains and make funeral arrangements, according to a coroner's lieutenant, reports City News Service.

The troubled 48-year-old songstress' body was found in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton. Houston was at the hotel ahead of her intended attendance at record maven Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party.

An autopsy has been performed, and while there are no signs of foul play, it appears Houston did not die exclusively of drowning. "There were no visible signs of trauma on the body," said Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner's office. "We need additional testing," Winter is quoted as saying in L.A. Now.

Results of toxicology tests are pending, to determine if, as theorized, Houston died from a lethal combination of pills and booze.

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TMZ is reporting that family sources say they were told by the coroner's office "the singer did not die from drowning, but rather from what appears to be a combination of Xanax and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol."

Despite finding water in Houston's lungs, TMZ reports the family have been told "there was not enough water in Whitney's lungs to lead to the conclusion that she drowned." Further, those same sources told TMZ the coroner told them "Whitney may well have died before her head became submerged."

Autopsy results were placed on a security hold by the Beverly Hills Police Department. Lt. Joe Bale noted that full toxicology reports typically take six to eight weeks, and two to three if they are rushed.

Reportedly, Houston's mother Cissy has made arrangements to have the body flown to Atlanta as early as Tuesday morning, notes CNS. Other reports indicate "her body was to be flown to New Jersey for the funeral, with events being planned for the upcoming weekend."

During last night's Grammy Awards ceremony and telecast, many celebrities paused to remember Whitney Houston, and Jennifer Hudson performed "I Will Always Love You," at the close of the "In memoriam" tribute segment.