Belfast Telegraph

Whitney Houston's family allowed to collect body

Whitney Houston's body will be released to her family soon.

The legendary songstress was pronounced dead in a fourth-floor hotel room on Saturday afternoon, with no immediate apparent cause of death. However, US website TMZ reported that prescription drugs were found in the star's room with speculation rife that Whitney may have drowned in a bathtub.

Whitney's autopsy has now been officially completed, and sources say her family should be able to collect her body and prepare for her funeral. Assistant Chief L.A. County Coroner Ed Winter told reporters at a news conference that Whitney's family will be allowed to view the body once it is moved to a mortuary, though it's unclear exactly when that will be.

The cause of the iconic singer's death remains unconfirmed, as the coroner's office is awaiting results of toxicology tests - which could take up to eight weeks.

Authorities are planning to reveal their official findings after the results are received.

Whitney's family is struggling to deal with her shocking death, especially Bobbi Kristina, Whitney's 18-year-old daughter with singer Bobby Brown. The teen was rushed to hospital and subsequently released for "stress and anxiety" yesterday.

Bobby has made his way to Los Angeles to be by his daughter's side.

"His daughter is having a total breakdown," a source told US Weekly. "She is freaking out, uncontrollably sobbing. We thought she was trying to kill herself. Everybody is worried."

Bobby addressed the media yesterday, asking for privacy during the difficult time.

"Today my daughter did visit with doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She has been released and is presently with my family, including her siblings," Bobby said in a statement released to Extra yesterday. "Obviously the death of her mother is affecting her, however, we will get through this tragedy as a family. Again, I ask for privacy during this time."

Whitney - a six-time Grammy Award-winning artist - was remembered at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday.

Whitney's death cast a great sadness over the prestigious music award ceremony, where a host of stars paid tribute to the late singer.

Jennifer Hudson took to the stage to perform a rendition of one of Whitney's greatest hits, I Will Always Love You. She looked emotional as she belted out the lyrics, but managed to keep her composure throughout. She ended the fitting tribute with some modified lyrics: "We will always love you."

Jennifer reportedly "sobbed" as she rehearsed for the performance on Saturday.

Grammys host LL Cool J remembered Whitney ahead of the event. The rapper revealed on the red carpet that the death of the singer had shaken the music industry.

"It affects it. It affects how I open. It affects the tone overall. We're not gonna get here and then change the rules on the artist; we're gonna celebrate her life... and then give them room so that they can go out there and do what they do," he told MTV News.

Fergie also spoke out about the late star. The Black Eyes Peas singer revealed that the 48-year-old star had a profound effect on her music career.

"Whitney was such an inspiration to me ever since I was a little girl," she added to MTV. "I used to watch the Grammys and I used to watch her walk up on that stage. She would belt out a song with such confidence, and I'd just dream that I could be on that stage like Whitney. She was a role model for me. She was an icon."

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