Brittany Murphy's Death Caused by Pneumonia, Prescription Drugs

Coroner won't reveal what drugs caused 32-year-old actress' death.

February 4, 2010, 8:05 AM

Feb. 4, 2010— -- Brittany Murphy's death was caused by a lethal combination of pneumonia and prescription drugs, the Los Angeles County coroner announced today.

Spokesman Craig Harvey said the primary cause of Murphy's death was pneumonia, while iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication also played a part. Harvey says the drugs ingested were all prescription medications. He declined to say more about what type of drugs were involved.

Harvey's announcement comes more than a month after the 32-year-old actress' sudden death. She was found in the bathroom of her Hollywood Hills home on Dec. 20, 2009 and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

At the time, Murphy's husband, Simon Monjack, said that the day before her death, she was ill and stayed in bed all day. She was suffering from laryngitis, which she treated with herbal tea, ginger and lemon.

"She was on herbal remedies that wouldn't speed up her heart," Monjack told People magazine. "There was nothing here that could endanger her. There was prescription medication in the house for her female time and some cough syrup. That was it."

Last month, tapes of Murphy's mother calling 911 were released.

"My daughter's passed out," Sharon Murphy tells the fire dispatcher on the recording. "She's ice cold and her hands are turning blue."

The actress' mother is clearly distraught as she listens to instructions on how to revive her daughter.

"Brittany, please come back!" she cries. "I have two other people with me and we all think she's dead."

Listen to the 911 call.

Sharon Murphy was not identified on the recording. But sources identified her and Monjack as the people who found Brittany Murphy unconscious.

On the recording, Sharon Murphy is asked if she thinks her daughter tried to commit suicide.

"I don't know if it's a suicide," she says. "Very often, her medications get all screwed up. It's probably because of that."

Brittany Murphy's Christmas Eve Funeral

Murphy's family gathered on Christmas Eve for a small, private funeral service.

Murphy's husband, Simon Monjack, described how he had lost his "best friend and soul mate" as the "Clueless" and "Girl, Interrupted" star was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles' Hollywood Hills, the same cemetery where Michael Jackson was buried in August. "24" actor Eric Balfour attended Murphy's service.

Her family said in a statement that "Brittany was an incredibly loving and passionate person and an artist to her core - she loved acting, singing, dancing, and performing. ... A bright light that lit the world is forever dimmed, but will live on in the hearts of those that Brittany touched."

Family spokesman Alex Ben Block told media outlets Dec. 24, 2009, that a larger memorial service may be held early in 2010. Further details about a larger service have yet to be released.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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