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13 Shocking Facts And Theories About The Tragic Death Of Brittany Murphy

Updated October 7, 2021 1.2m views13 items

Actress Brittany Murphy died mysteriously in the home she shared with husband Simon Monjack on December 20, 2009. She was only 32. The Clueless star's career had suffered in recent years and rumors of substance abuse abounded, but Murphy was still vibrant and larger-than-life. For many, her sudden death was a total shock and is still yet to be resolved.

Despite an initial coroner’s report that stated she died of "natural causes" related to pneumonia and anemia, the final report - with newer toxicology tests - concluded Murphy stopped breathing after ingesting prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, such as hydrocodone and acetaminophen, in addition to the effects of pneumonia and anemia. Her father conducted an independent analysis, which proposed Murphy's hair contained suspiciously elevated levels of heavy metals. Some believe the conflicting toxicology results suggest she was poisoned. 

As conspiracy theories about Murphy’s death multiplied - including the death of her husband months later - her case became one of Hollywood's unsolved mysteries

  • Britney Spears Sold The 'Hated' House To Murphy

    Photo: wereonfirenow / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Britney Spears was the previous owner of the nearly 10,000 square foot home where Murphy and her husband died. In June 2003, Spears sold the home where she lived with Justin Timberlake to Murphy for just shy of $3.9 million.  

    In 2010, Monjack told the Hollywood Reporter that Murphy had “absolutely hated” the mansion. In recent years, it's undergone extensive renovations and is on the market for over $18 million.

  • Police Found 90 Empty Pill Bottles In The Couple's Room

    When police arrived at the home to investigate Murphy's death, they discovered dozens of prescription pill bottles in the home. Reportedly, investigators removed approximately 90 pill bottles from the bedroom. The bottles were prescribed to Murphy and Monjack, as well as to fake patients. Coroner Ed Winter believes the deaths were “preventable.” Winter then detailed how:

    The problem is Simon would doctor shop and got numerous medications with numerous names and had a problem with prescription meds. Brittany was sick and instead of getting her treatment, Simon and her mother didn't take her to the doctor and used an abundance of over-the-counter meds.

  • Deadly Mold May Be A Factor 

    Allegedly, Murphy and Monjack's mansion was extremely cluttered, and rumors spread that the Beverly Hills home contained dangerous mold. Murphy's mother pursued the suspicion that mold might be responsible for the couple’s deaths, despite the coroner’s report refuting the likelihood. 

    Coroner Winter maintained any presence of mold “was not a factor in their death.” However, investigative reports on whether the mansion contained life-threatening mold were never released

  • Investigators Said The Heavy Metals In Brittany's Hair Were From Dye

    Investigators reportedly did not test Murphy’s hair for suspicious substances in 2009. However, an independent forensic analyst determined in a 2013 test that the traces of metal in her samples were “suspicious for foul play.” Los Angeles's Coroner Winter commented on the conflicting test results Murphy’s father had conducted through a third-party. He adamantly maintained rat poison wasn't in her hair but rather heavy metals from hair dye:

    [I]t was due to Brittany coloring her hair […] It was determined it was from color. She wasn't poisoned, and we stand by the cause of death. She died from over-the-counter medicines, pneumonia and anemia.