How Did Brittany Murphy Die? New Doc Explains Her Cause Of Death Isn’t A ‘Mystery’

More than a decade after her passing, the world nonetheless misses Brittany Murphy. The new documentary ‘What Happened, Brittany Murphy?’ takes a glance into her tragic dying and shuts down all of the hypothesis and rumors about her passing.

Eleven years after Brittany Murphy’s dying, and her passing nonetheless has left an impression. Her star-making efficiency in Clueless made her an icon, however her life was reduce brief when she died on the younger age of 32 in 2009. Her rise to fame and sudden dying are lined in a brand new two-part HBO Max docuseries What Happened, Brittany Murphy?

The collection goes “beyond the conspiracy theories and headlines” surrounding her dying whereas exhibiting new archival footage. “Our Brittany Murphy documentary cuts through the tabloid noise with an elevated, nuanced depiction of a sensational story,” stated Jennifer O’Connell, EVP, Non-Fiction and Live-Action Family Programming, HBO Max, in an announcement to Deadline. “Crafting a grounded account of Brittany Murphy’s life struggles and sudden passing comes with great responsibility and we’ve partnered with a masterful creative team to produce a thoughtful examination of a tragedy that has long been cause for speculation.”

Though Brittany died of pneumonia, she was dogged by rumors of drug use and consuming problems within the lead-up to her dying, which solely muddied the character surrounding her premature passing, and the documentary explores among the questions. In the two-part doc, the important thing gamers concerned in investigating her dying clarify how pneumonia and anemia have been deadly on this occasion, placing these conspiracy theories of foul play to mattress as soon as and for all.

How Brittany Murphy Passed Away

Brittany Anne Murphy-Monjack died on December 20, 2009. The younger actress had collapsed within the toilet of her Hollywood Hills mansion round 8 a.m., in response to The Hollywood Reporter’s detailed account of her remaining hours. The Clueless star was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, nevertheless it was all in useless. She was pronounced lifeless at 10:04 am, in response to The New York Times. At first, an assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County stated that her reason for dying “appears to be natural,” however no extra data was instantly out there. An post-mortem was carried out a day after she died, and her dying certificates listed her reason for dying as “deferred.”

At the time of Murphy’s dying, the actress was truly caring for her mom, Sharon Murphy, and her husband, Simon Monjack. Sharon, a breast most cancers survivor, was struggling a debilitating neuropathy, in response to The Hollywood Reporter’s detailed account of Brittany’s final day. Simon – a screenwriter who had been struggling seizures for practically a yr earlier than Brittany’s dying – was recuperating from struggling an obvious coronary heart assault a month earlier.

Brittany Murphy (AP)

Leading as much as the actress’s dying, her make-up artist Trista Jordan seen that one thing was incorrect with Brittany. “Her eyes were so sunken, and she just seemed so sad,” Trista instructed People in October 2021. “She wasn’t herself. She was in so much pain. She had Bambi legs and couldn’t stand up.”

Around 3 a.m., Brittany woke and made her solution to her bed room’s balcony. Simon, at his spouse’s request, phoned her mom to test on the actress.  “She was lying on the patio trying to catch her breath,” Sharon instructed The Hollywood Reporter. “I said, ‘Baby, get up.’ She said: ‘Mommy, I can’t catch my breath. Help me. Help me.’” Simon recalled his spouse’s panicked pleas. “She said to her mom: ‘I’m dying. I’m going to die. Mommy, I love you.’”

At first, Simon and Sharon didn’t take Brittany’s “dying” claims severely. “She was always so dramatic,” Sharon stated to THR. “I’ve replayed that so many times. She asked if she could use the oxygen, but Simon said her heart could stop with oxygen, and anyway, he then had another seizure, a long, horrific seizure.” She made her daughter sizzling tea with ginger and lemon, however at 8 a.m., Brittany collapsed in her toilet. 911 was referred to as, and Brittany was rushed to the hospital the place she would sadly die.

It would take a number of months earlier than the thriller round Brittany’s tragic dying was solved. Amid hypothesis of foul play and a possible overdose, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s workplace issued an announcement on Feb. 4, 2010, stating that Brittany died of “community-acquired pneumonia,” with “contributing factors of iron deficiency anemia” and a number of drug intoxication, per The New York Times. A spokesperson for the workplace stated that the medication have been all prescribed drugs however didn’t specify what they have been. She reportedly contracted the flu whereas filming The Caller, a low-budget thriller, in Puerto Rico.

Brittany Murphy in ‘Girl, Interrupted’ (Everett Collection)

Simon additionally died from acute pneumonia and anemia, a mere 5 months after Brittany’s dying. This solely added to the hypothesis that Brittany’s dying resulted from foul play. In 2013, Brittany’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, had his daughter’s hair, blood, and tissue examined by an unbiased firm. This toxicology report, by toxicologist Ernest Lykissa, claimed Brittany had excessive concentrations of ten heavy metals in her system, per CNN. Lykissa wrote that “the only logical explanation would be an exposure to these metals (toxins) administered by a third party perpetrator with likely criminal intent,” however Dr. Bruce Goldberg, the then-director of forensic medication on the University of Florida, dismissed the report as “ridiculous.”

Concluding that Brittany was allegedly poisoned is an “inflammatory statement” that “is a baseless allegation and outrageous statement to make based on a single hair test,” Dr. Goldberg instructed CNN. Brittany’s post-mortem confirmed no indicators of poisoning, and a “hair test alone, without any clinical signs or symptoms, cannot be used to establish poisoning.”

Brittany was buried on the Forest Lawn cemetery in Hollywood Hills.

Was Brittany Murphy Murdered? 

Ever since Brittany’s tragic dying in 2009 at simply 32, folks have questioned whether or not foul play was concerned. Fans have even gone as far as to say she might have been murdered. In the HBO Max documentary What Happened, Brittany Murphy?, key figures in Brittany’s case clarify how her dying occurred.

“The cause of death is not a mystery. The mystery is why didn’t somebody catch it. Had they taken her to the doctor a few days before she’d still be alive,” Ed Winter, the previous Assistant Chief to the LA County Department of Coroner, stated within the documentary. Ed was the coroner concerned in Brittany’s case.

Dr. Lisa Scheinin, the deputy health worker who performed Brittany’s post-mortem, defined within the documentary why there’s not any thriller as to the actress’ reason for dying. Dr. Scheinin famous that Brittany’s hemoglobin degree was 3.0, which meant she was a “very anemic person.” With that hemoglobin degree, she additionally stated that any first rate physician would have had Brittany within the ER “hooked up to a transfusion as quickly as they possibly could because this is a life-threatening situation.”

She additionally did a check on Brittany’s lungs to see in the event that they floated in water, which is what they’re alleged to do. She took a piece from each lobe of the lung. Three of the sections sank, which meant Brittany had “severe pneumonia.” Brittany’s toxicology report confirmed no proof of alcohol or any medication of abuse, however she did have prescription and OTC meds in her system.

“The anemia itself would have been fatal even without the pneumonia,” Dr. Scheinin defined. “The pneumonia was fatal, and then you’re adding this to the equation (the prescription and OTC meds). This could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

She added, “If she had gotten to a hospital earlier enough, you can detect pneumonia on a chest X-ray. It’s very easy to do. They could have possibly started treatment, but she would have had a chance.”

Dr. Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist, additionally shut down any query of attainable foul play. There’s no query in my thoughts about the reason for dying,” he stated. “This is a 32-year-old woman. I don’t know the bankroll of her and her husband, but I assumed that they had money. And yet they lived as if they were peasants in squalor. To develop an anemia of this nature, she was not eating.”

Brittany Murphy: How She Rose To Fame

As an actress, Brittany Murphy received her begin when she was a teen. The 13-year-old Brittany landed her first recurring position within the 1991 short-lived sitcom, Drexell’s Class. From there, Brittany appeared on a handful of basic ‘90s TV shows like Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Blossom, Sister, Sister, Party Of Five, and Boy Meets World. Her breakthrough got here on the silver display screen when she starred reverse Alicia Silverstone in Clueless.

Brittany’s profession took off after that, and he or she landed roles in Freeway (with Reese Witherspoon and Keifer Sutherland), Girl, Interrupted (with Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder), and Drop Dead Gorgeous (with Kirsten Dunst, Allison Janney, and Amy Adams.) Brittany additionally voiced the character of Luanne on the beloved animated sitcom King of the Hill.

Brittany Murphy in ‘Clueless’ (Everett)

In the 2000s, Brittany’s profession continued to climb with featured roles in 8 Mile, Sin City, and Just Married, with Ashton Kutcher. She and Ashton dated for six months after the movie. Unfortunately, her profession slowed, and he or she was dogged by allegations of unlawful drug use and consuming problems, per The Independent. She stated in 2005 that stories of her utilizing cocaine have been “pretty darned far-fetched.” “I am also way too high-strung. I can’t even take a Sudafed. Can you imagine? My God. I think my heart would explode. I mean, literally.”

Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy attend the VH1 Big in 2002 Awards (MEGA)

She had been identified with a coronary heart murmur in her early teenagers, so Brittany knew that utilizing any unlawful substances would put her life in danger. Despite this, stories of unlawful drug use and being “difficult” to work with appeared all through her profession. Ultimately, Brittany’s final roles have been posthumous appearances in 2010’s Abandoned and 2014’s Something Wicked.

In addition to her marriage with Simon Monjack and brief courtship with Ashton Kutcher, Brittany was briefly engaged with expertise supervisor Jeff Kwatinetz.

Ahead of the HBOMax documentary’s launch, director Cynthia Hill mirrored on the truth that the actress was “loved by everyone,” as these near her remembered her. “She was so generous, caring and always thinking about everybody else and I think sometimes that gets forgotten because of all the mystery surrounding her death,” she instructed People.

Family, Friends, Co-Workers & Fans: The Reaction To Brittany’s Death

Brittany’s dying was mourned by lots of her pals and former coworkers. “Today, the world lost a little piece of sunshine,” Ashton Kutcher tweeted on the time. “My deepest condolences go out to Brittany’s family, her husband, and her amazing mother, Sharon. See you on the other side, kid.”

“Brittney Murphy and I did a USO Tour together in 2003,” tweeted Alyssa Milano, per Access Hollywood. “She was a sweet soul, with a lot of talent and heart.” Lindsay Lohan additionally tweeted her deepest condolences to “all of Brittany Murphy’s loved ones& may she rest in peace… She was a great talent w/a beautiful soul xo.” Whoopi Goldberg, who appeared in Girl, Interrupted with Brittany, stated, “It is a terrible loss for us as actors and to the industry but even greater for her family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”

“Brittany Murphy was like no other,” Kathy Najimy, Brittany’s co-star on King of the Hill, stated in an announcement. “A bright light. Never a mean or judgmental word, wildly fun, silly, loyal friend. Sweet, funny, smart, unbelievably talented actress and singer. Brilliant, moving body of work. I was lucky enough to know, love, and work with her for 15 years. Love to her family and the many many people who adored her and were touched by her. We hope that in honor of her life and in the reflection of her glorious light, the pressures that girls and women face will fade. Her spirit still soars.”

Brittany Murphy and Alicia Silverstone in ‘Clueless’ (Everett)

“Brittany Murphy was an incredible ray of Light to so many people. Her smile was contagious,” tweeted Jessica Simpson. “My prayers are with her family and loved ones.” “Wow, I am shocked about the news! RIP Brittany Murphy. My heart goes out to you and your family,” Dancing with the Stars’ Cheryl Burke tweeted.

“[Brittany] was such a sweetheart,” Elisa Donovan stated to HollywoodLife in July 2020. “She was like a hummingbird, kind of always operating at this very high, speedy sort of level. She was so sweet and so talented. “I had spent a lot of time in hair and makeup, so I remember her coming in once in between shots and just saying, ‘Oh, I’m just going to fix my own hair. I’m going to do it.’ And her curling it and burning her forehead and then it became this whole thing where she would be like, ‘I’m so sorry I didn’t mean to!’ It was kind of this fumbling funny moment because she went, ‘I can do it myself,’ because she didn’t want to bug them.”

On the tenth anniversary of Brittany’s dying, her Clueless castmate Breckin Meyer paid tribute to his shut buddy. “10 years ago, this magical, fantabulous angel left us WAY too early. “She was so crazy talented and the sweetest lil fairy ya ever could meet. Full Disclosure: Travis kisses Tai on the head because Brit and I knew each other for years before Clueless, and she was always like a Lil sister to me.”


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