The death of actress Brittany Murphy could have been related to a previously undetected heart condition, type-2 diabetes, or even Murphy's rumored thyroid problems, but experts said it's unlikely there was anything "natural" about the cause of her tragic death.
The 32-year-old actress, once considered a rising star in Hollywood, died Sunday after suffering cardiac arrest at her home. She was pronounced dead on arrival at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at 10:04 a.m.
Murphy's autopsy had been concluded as of 5 p.m. ET Monday, Chief Coroner Ed Winter told ABC News.com. Winter said it will be four to six weeks before laboratory results are in and the official cause of death can be determined.
Winter confirmed that several legal prescription medications – all made out to Murphy – were recovered from her apartment and taken in as evidence.
"No foul play is suspected," Winter said and he told the Associated Press that the cause of death "appears to be natural."
When ABC News contacted experts in toxicology and cardiology concerning Murphy's death, however, they agreed that the circumstances surrounding Murphy's death did not point to natural causes.
"I don't know how in the world [the coroner] can say that," said Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist who has been involved in investigations of past celebrity deaths.
"Epidemiologically, it's not the kind of a situation in which you would expect a natural death," he said. "You just don't expect a 32-year-old, slender woman to have a heart attack or stroke."
Dr. Steve Nissen, chairman of the department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, agreed, saying that for a woman of her age to die suddenly of cardiac arrest "is exceedingly uncommon."
Wecht said that reports that she suffered from cardiac arrest does not offer much in the way of a clue to the cause of death:
"Cardiac arrest...that's meaningless, everyone has cardiac arrest when you die, the question is what produced cardiac arrest."
Murphy's family told Winter that the actress was ill with flu-like symptoms in the days before her death, and Winter admitted the reported illness could have contributed to her death, though it will be weeks before a final determination is made.
Medical experts weighed in with their thoughts on Murphy's death, noting drugs, a genetic heart condition, complications due to diabetes, and a viral infection of the heart as possible explanations for her death.
Dr. Jeffrey Barnard, professor of pathology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and chief medical examiner for Dallas County, Texas, said several possibilities may be explored including a drug-related death: perhaps a viral infection which led to inflammation of the heart; or heart arrhythmia "from some other source, [such as] low potassium or magnesium [from] prolonged nausea and vomiting."
"If she is excessively thin," LuAnn White of Tulane Center for Applied Environmental Public Health added, "she may be anorexic or bulimic" and the restrictive food or liquid intake or chronic vomiting associated with these disorders could contribute to a "loss of fluids and salts that can induce cardiac arrhythmia and even cardiac arrest."
Several experts also said that Murphy's diabetes and a thyroid condition may have contributed to her death, though indirectly.