A day or two after Whitney Houston’s death I asked a friend if he felt there was any rational basis for not concluding that she died from drugs. His response was basically “I don’t know, possibly but who knows? I think we all need to hold off until the facts are in.” Today I sent him the news about the L.A. coroner’s report saying that white powder was found everywhere, etc.

Me: “Is it safe to say now that Whitney died from drugs, or should we continue to reserve judgment?”

Friend: “Not just drugs alone. She drowned — drug-related, no doubt.”

Me: “‘Drug-related’? You don’t want to go out on a limb.”

Friend: “It’s kinda like dying of pneumonia when you’re riddled with cancer. Her cancer was a drift back into drug addiction but to say she died of drugs alone, I don’t know. Do they say it was the amount of coke she was doing that actually killed her — or was it the drowning itself? In other words if she wasn’t in the bathtub, would she still be alive?”

Me: “You may be on to something. It was the water that killed her.”

Friend: “Take it up with the coroner.”

Me: “By the same token, a woman jumps from a ten-story building and people ask if the fall killed her. No, you would say — the pavement did. Or in Collateral when Jamie Foxx looks at the dead drug dealer who’d fallen out of the window and onto the trunk of his cab, and then asks Tom Cruise, ‘You killed him?’ And Cruise says, ‘No, I shot him. The bullets and the fall killed him.’”

19 thoughts on “Finality

  1. Jesse Crall on said:

    It was drugs. You don’t drown in a bathtub unless you’re fucked up or you have a freak attack. She was young and passing out or suffering from such a spasm was a result of “white powder.” I do think Jeff’s friend was initially right for wanting to wait for the facts, though.

  2. “I told you she died of an overdose! I told you so! TOLDJA!”

    Lol. In a town where actors and entertainers of every financial bracket has a history of doing one (or more) drugs, it’s astonishing the righteousness you hand to dead Whitney. You should be the new spokesman for D.A.R.E.

  3. I still find her downfall astonishing. I sampled a lot of her songs on iTunes after she died, and I was pretty amazed by that voice, surely one of the top 5 or 10 of all time in terms of vocal purity and range. Just a waste. She rightfully should have been regarded on the same level as Streisand. A missed opportunity for everyone.

  4. I always hated that line from Collateral. Could have been classic, but including “the bullets” ruins it.

    That’s how much I care about this matter.

  5. It is right to wait for the facts.

    If Robert Downey Jr. or a notorious boozer like Gary Oldman had died in the same fashion we’d want to wait too. A lot of people never escape addiction, but a sizable portion do. Saying someone essentially ODed who could have been clean for years and just suffered a horrific accident is out of line. I know we’re always trying to make stuff like this a “teachable moment” but everyone already knows drugs are bad. At the end of the day it feels like the most important thing to do is to let someone go in peace instead of throwing up our hands. I do feel bad for her daughter though.

  6. your friend is right! maybe she just takes a snooze for an hour if she weren’t in a few inches of water.

    i would characterize a heart attack or other example of physical failure as her being killed by the drugs, and this more like if she drove drunk and had a fatal car crash. its a compound thing.

  7. “She died the day she looked into Bobby Brown’s eyes and said ‘I do.’”

    Lots of interesting speculation on that front — which I had never heard until people were gossiping about it again, immediately after her death — that she was a lesbian who had essentially entered into what was more or less an arranged marriage with him, as part of an effort to convince people she was heterosexual and put the rumors to rest. (The only “proof” described was that she was joined at the hip to her assistant, her “best friend” for many years who she had known and loved before she ever hit it big.)

    Who knows if it’s true, though Bobby Brown made hints to that effect when things were bad between them. But if there’s any truth at all to it… it would explain why she started to hate herself and fall into drug use. Which really is a tragedy, because while I was never a fan of hers… she did have an absolutely amazing voice, as raygo says above.

  8. Dogcatcher: I do — but when you’ve got Bobby Brown himself alluding to it in his book, and that these rumors had gone on for more than 20 years… it would seem to add a little more weight to it. (Here’s another example: after Whitney had earned millions — she bought a place of her own and had her friend live there with her. Her friend who was making a lot of money as her assistant didn’t have her own place — she lived with Whitney. Now, maybe it was just their close friendship. Maybe she was just emotionally needy and needed someone close she could trust. Maybe Whitney was so incompetent she had to have an assistant who lived under the same roof to answer her beck and call. But you have to admit, that IS unusual.)

    Like I said: “I had never heard it before,” “Who knows if it’s true,” and “if there’s any truth at all” to it. But I’d rather think there IS some truth to it, rather than think “She’s just a moron who loved drugs.” Usually, there IS some underlying motivation when you get as horrifingly deep into it as she did.

  9. According to the news, she died because of overdose. It was really sad because she was an idol and a model to everybody. Personally, she was one of my favorite pop singer. – Texas Lending

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