"No one's criminally liable here," a Los Angeles County coroner's office official says, but actress Brittany Murphy could be alive today if she had seen a doctor for the pneumonia that caused her death. "This death could've been preventable," Assistant Chief Ed Winter told People. "Murphy was planning on seeing a doctor, but she unfortunately passed away before she did. This was a case of a person with pneumonia who was anemic (suffering from a low red blood count) who was taking medication when she should've been getting medical treatment." Murphy's death was caused by "multiple drug intoxication," pneumonia and anemia, the coroner found. The drugs found in her system were "only prescription and over-the-counter meds," Winter said. Last month, husband Simon Monjack told People that Murphy had seen a doctor for her illness and was taking prescribed antibiotics, but Winter said she had last seen a physician "a while ago."
The doctor who did the autopsy on Anna Nicole Smith after her 2007 death from "acute combined drug intoxication" says Murphy died the same way Anna Nicole did -- and that drug use that rendered her unconscious may have caused the pneumonia she suffered from. Dr. Joshua Perper of the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office said, "What happens when some individuals take drugs [is that] they pass out. And they can become comatose. Or they can vomit, or they can aspirate, or have mucus accumulating in their lungs for hours, and this might trigger an episode of pneumonia—especially if they're very thin." Murphy's weight had fallen dramatically before her death.
The cause of heiress Casey Johnson's death was listed as diabetic ketoacidosis, and sources tell TMZ that it was caused by her failure to take care of herself. Johnson, 30, was not taking her insulin shots, was not exercising, did not follow her strict diet and was not taking other medicines she needed, says TMZ. Johnson was hospitalized for diabetic comas, caused by ketoacidosis, at least twice before her death. She died alone in a rented house days before her body was found on Jan. 4. Johnson's fiancee, Tila Tequila, at right in the photo above, told RadarOnline, "I always knew she died of natural causes while others kept insinuating that she died of drug problems and kept airing dirty secrets from her past. I knew the real Casey before she died, and the Casey I knew was absolutely nothing like what the media and ex-friends made her out to be, then everyone pointed the finger at me. ... I'm glad she is resting in peace now."
Brooke Mueller's mother, Moira Fiore, says she and her daughter are headed to Aspen this weekend after Brooke's 10-day stay at Two Dreams Outer Banks in North Carolina to recover from pneumonia in both lungs. "Brooke has recuperated very nicely," Fiore says. Monday, Mueller and husband Charlie Sheen will be in court for a hearing on the order of protection in place against the actor. The couple is said to be interested in reconciling, but law enforcement sources tell TMZ that the Pitkin County District Attorney's Office is going to file felony menacing and misdemeanor assault charges against Sheen for the Christmas Day fracas with Mueller at a rented house in Aspen.
Buffalo native Jessica White will be featured in this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which will hit newsstands next week. One sneak-peek photo shows White posing on a beach in an orange bikini. Last year, the 25-year-old became the first African-American model to appear in six swimsuit issues.
The day before Dr. Conrad Murray is expected to surrender to face charges in the death of his patient, Michael Jackson, the doctor went to the crypt where Jackson is buried, presumably to pay his respects. Murray showed up at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif., but because he is not on the list of approved visitors, he was barred from going inside the private crypt.
Olympic speed-skating champ and "Dancing With the Stars" winner Apolo Anton Ohno is mourning the car-crash death of his "good friend" and one-time fellow skater Justin Mentell Monday in rural Wisconsin. From his training grounds in Salt Lake City, Ohno told EOnline, "Justin's passing was a complete shock to me, as I just communicated with him a short while prior. ... I knew him since I was about 12 years old, and we grew up skating together ... He was always the one to make us smile ... we all knew that he would someday make it in the Hollywood scene." Mentell, 27, was not wearing a seat belt when his Jeep plunged from a rural road into a steep ravine and hit two trees. Ohno, who was visited backstage by Mentell during his competition on "Dancing," said, "Life isn't fair to all, and he was too young to pass, but he reminds me to enjoy life — every minute of it."
Tiffany Thornton, who plays Tawni Hart in "Sonny with a Chance," on the Disney Channel, is engaged, her rep confirms. The star, 23, who wore an engagement ring at the premiere of "Dear John," became engaged to Christopher Carney, 29, a court officer in Arkansas, in December. The two began dating last year. Thornton also played Becky on "Hannah Montana." When asked about her love life early last year, Thornton told People: "I don't have a lot of time to go on dates with people.
-- Anne Neville
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