It’s been more than a decade since late actress Brittany Murphy’s sudden death at the age of 32 made headlines and led to an outpouring of condolences from fans. The moments leading up to her passing have been explored at length, including in a two-part HBO Max documentary titled What Happened, Brittany Murphy?, which reexamined her early rise to fame, self-esteem struggles and puzzling death. In addition, the actress’ friends and family members have spoken out about her life and their thoughts about how she died. Keep reading for more details.

How Did Brittany Murphy Die?

Murphy’s death was officially ruled an accident in February 2010, according to an autopsy report at the time, revealing her primary cause of death was pneumonia, with secondary factors of iron deficiency anemia.

Due to the severe iron deficiency she had, the autopsy report revealed it led her “to a weakened state of health and would increase her vulnerability to infection.”

The 8 Mile star also had components of Vicodin and various prescriptions used to treat colds in her system, as well as traces of antidepressants, when she went into cardiac arrest and collapsed at her home on December 20, 2009. Murphy was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead just hours later.

Brittany Murphy Wearing a Dress

What Happened to Her Husband Simon Monjack?

In May 2010, the body of Simon Monjack was found in the same Hollywood Hills home he shared with Murphy. Murphy’s mother, Sharon, reportedly discovered Monjack’s body around 9:30 p.m. one evening and called 911.

After an autopsy, his cause of death at the age of 40 was determined to be acute pneumonia and severe anemia, according to a Los Angeles County coroner spokesman.

What Have People Said About Brittany Murphy’s Death?

Conspiracy theorists have continued to ask questions about the couple’s unexpected deaths, with some speculating Monjack isolated his wife. Others still question if the toxic mold that allegedly infested their home had anything to do with it. 

Celebrity Conspiracy Theories Brittany Murphy
Daniel Deme/EPA/Shutterstock

“I agreed to do this film because I think it’s a shame that Brittany’s promising life and career has been eclipsed by the circumstances of her death,” documentarian Cynthia Hill explained about her project, What Happened, Brittany Murphy?. “I think it’s important to celebrate Brittany’s talent as we struggle to explain the tragic circumstances of her and Simon’s deaths.”

In December 2022, Murphy’s half-brother, Tony Bertolotti, told The Sun that he was convinced her sibling had been murdered.

“There’s no way she died of natural causes. It’s impossible. It’s bulls–t, total crap,” Bertolotti, who has the same father as Murphy, claimed, adding that he thought her passing had to do with her money. “It was obvious to me, she was taken out.”

Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at