A Los Angeles County Coroner’s van exits the Beverly Hilton Hotel with the body of Whitney Houston, who died in a hotel room there on Saturday, in Beverly Hills, California February 12, 2012.

Whitney Houston bows after performing “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 22, 2009.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Whitney Houston, whose soaring voice lifted her to the top of the pop music world but whose personal decline was fuelled by years of drug use, died on Saturday afternoon in a Beverly Hills hotel room. She was 48.

 

“She has been positively identified by friends and family (who) were with her at the hotel, and next of kin have already been notified,” Lieutenant Mark Rosen told reporters. Police said there were no obvious signs of criminal intent.

Typically, coroners conduct an autopsy within a day or two, at which point they might release some preliminary information about the death. If drugs or alcohol are involved, however, an official cause of death would not be released until after toxicology tests, which could take six to eight weeks.

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