Whitney Houston

Coroner: Whitney Houston had signs of 'chronic' cocaine usage

March 22, 2012 at 5:37 PM ET

Updated at 7 p.m. PT: The official cause of death for Whitney Houston is drowning and "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use," according to a report released Thursday by the L.A. County Department of the Coroner.

The report indicates that the Houston died when she was submerged in a bathtub filled with water, and also indicates that she had ingested cocaine.

Coroner spokesman Craig Harvey said in a news conference that level of cocaine in the singer's system indicated that she used the drug shortly before the accidental drowning, and that there were signs of "chronic usage."

"Continued use of drugs resulted in heart disease, and that could have led to a heart attack," Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told E! News. "At this time," he added, "I don't know how bad her heart was. That will be in the final report. We know she drowned, she had heart disease, and the cocaine was considered a contributing cause to her death."

Her death has been ruled as accidental.

Cocaine was said to have contributed to her death, but not the prescription drugs and marijuana also found in her system. The press release from the report concluded, "No trauma or foul play is suspected."

Harvey said in the press conference that the level of Xanax in Houston's system was consistent with someone who was taking the medication as prescribed.

"We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure," Patricia Houston, the pop superstar's manager and sister-in-law said in a statement on Thursday.

The final coroner's report is expected to be released within two weeks.

Houston was found under water in her bathtub on Feb. 11 in her Beverly Hilton Hotel suite one day before the Grammy Awards. She was buried in Westfield, N.J., on Feb. 19.

E! Online, TMZ and Reuters contributed to this report.

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